CE Tutorial

SMA: Newborn Screening, Treatment and Referral

Welcome to the training on SMA: Newborn Screening, Treatment and Referral provided by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) and the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS).

Credit hours: 0.75 CE


The goal of this tutorial is to equip birth facilities, Texas Health Steps providers and other health-care professionals to screen newborns for spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), communicate out-of-range screening results to parents or caregivers, and provide appropriate referrals and care coordination. 

Target Audience

Texas Health Steps providers and other interested health-care professionals.

Specific Learning Objectives

After completing the activities of this module, you will be able to:

  1. Summarize the prevalence and effects of SMA and benefits of screening newborns for the disorder.
  2. Apply recommendations for responding to out-of-range results for SMA, including confirmatory laboratory tests, quick referrals, regular monitoring of symptoms and communication with parents and caregivers.

Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is a rare, life-threatening disorder that may not be detected until irreversible symptoms occur. Newborn screening can detect babies who need additional testing and evaluation to determine whether they have SMA. Early detection and treatment is vital to save the life of a baby with SMA. 
Note: Newborn screening for SMA was implemented in Texas in 2021. This tutorial provides an overview of the screening process and how to respond when a newborn’s SMA results are out of range. Additional resources are listed in the Resources for Health-Care Providers at the end of the tutorial.

Please note this module expires on 5/28/2024.

This module was released on 5/28/2021.

Accreditation Statement


Browser Requirements

  • Cure SMA, a national nonprofit advocating for patients who have SMA and their families. Find local and national resources. 
  • Early Childhood Special Education. Information from Texas Project First, a family-to-family network.
  • Muscular Dystrophy Association offers fact sheets and other information. 
  • U.S. Department of Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Library of Medicine. Clinicaltrials.gov 
  • U.S. Department of Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Library of Medicine. Genetic Conditions

The medical definitions in this tutorial were obtained or adapted from the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Mayo Clinic, the National Cancer Institute, National Organization for Rare Disorders and the journals BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders, Neuromuscular Disorders and Spine.