Ask Now, Babies and Kids Can't Wait
Spokane Regional Health District Launches New Infant Toddler Network Prevention Campaign
‘Ask Now, Babies and Kids Can’t Wait’ campaign offers tools, resources that empower parents to screen for developmental delays
For more information, contact Kim Papich SRHD Public Information Officer (509) 324-1539 or firstname.lastname@example.org
SPOKANE, Wash. – Oct. 30, 2014 – It’s a fact, many children in Spokane County with developmental delays are not being identified as early as possible. The national statistic is staggering—fewer than half of children with delays are identified before starting school. As a result, many of these children dealing with autism, intellectual disabilities, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and more, must wait to get the help they need to do well in social and school settings.
There is hope though and it hinges on a universal truth, parents know their child best. And when parents are empowered to recognize developmental milestones they can better support their child as he or she grows. This empowerment is the basis for a new campaign from Spokane Regional Health District’s (SRHD) Infant Toddler Network (ITN) program called, Ask Now, Babies and Kids Can’t Wait.
The centerpiece of the campaign is an easy-to-follow ages-and-stages graphic that helps parents and caregivers know what to look for as their child develops. For example, at 6 months, a baby should be able to string vowels together when babbling. At 3 years, they should be able to carry on a conversation using two to three sentences. Not reaching these milestones or reaching them much later could be a sign of a development delay and good reason to talk with a child’s health care provider.
Other elements of the campaign include promotion of a free screening questionnaire from ParentHelp 123, a program of WithinReach. The fun, doctor-recommended questionnaire further teaches parents to recognize developmental milestones and how to support their child as they grow.
Said ITN Manager, Colleen O’Brien, “When we think of measures of a child’s growth, we often think of height and weight, but from birth to age 5, your child should reach specific milestones in how he or she plays, learns, speaks, acts, and moves.”
Continued O’Brien, “Not reaching a milestone in any of these areas could be a sign of a developmental problem, even autism. The good news is, the earlier it's recognized the more you can do to help your child reach his or her full potential. That’s why we titled this campaign, ‘Ask Now, Babies and Kids Can’t Wait’.”
In Spokane, about one in 25 children, under the age of 5, have a physical, mental, or sensory disability. In the United States, about 13% of children 3 to 17 years of age have a developmental or behavioral disability. In addition, many children have delays in language or other areas that can affect school readiness. If a child is not identified by the time he or she reaches school, many opportunities for treatment may have already been missed.
Research shows that early intervention treatment services, like those offered through SRHD and many of its great community partners, can greatly improve a child’s development. Early intervention services help children from birth through 3 years of age (36 months) learn important skills. Services include therapy to help the child talk, walk, and interact with others.
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) says that children younger than 3 years of age (36 months) who are at risk of having developmental delays, might be eligible for early intervention treatment services even if the child has not received a formal diagnosis. In addition, treatment for particular symptoms, such as speech therapy for language delays, often does not require a formal diagnosis. Although early intervention is extremely important, intervention at any age can be helpful.
The Ask Now, Babies and Kids Can’t Wait campaign features many of these resources and will be visible in many parts of Spokane County including at srhd.org/ask-now.asp, where the PSA can be viewed; on TV commercials; direct mailers; bus and social media advertisements; and at community events.
More information can also be found at srhd.org. SRHD’s website offers comprehensive, updated information about Spokane Regional Health District and its triumphs in making Spokane a safer and healthier community. Become a fan of SRHD on Facebook to receive local safety and wellness tips, or follow the agency on Twitter at @spokanehealth.