HI all! This much delayed edition of Advocacy Toolbox is brought to you by a question I had from a mom in a parent presentation recently. She was asking about speech delays – her daughter had one, she felt, and she was having trouble getting her child’s preschool to work with her to get her daughter evaluated. I referred her to the local free Early Intervention organization and she was happy to have another resource to try.
As youth librarians and early literacy advocates, we are experts in early literacy skills development and subsequently know quite a bit about how a young child’s brain develops. For some of our parents, however, that can translate into us being experts about all-things parenting related. I attended a focus group once, in which we were asking parents to use a new early literacy resource website, where we noticed something: parents don’t separate their parenting questions into separate “baskets.” It’s all one big basket, and into it goes every concern they have about their child: questions related to nutrition, discipline, learning, and more. So, naturally, when we answer questions about language and reading development it’s a natural progression for a parent to then ask a question about how their child is developing in other ways.
It’s easy to want to try and answer their questions but we know we can’t be all things to all patrons. So here’s where we do what librarians do best: connect them with resources that CAN answer their questions. Here are some I’ve compiled that might be useful for you:
Early Intervention: Most states offer this free service to parents of young children. The child can be evaluated for developmental delays, and if needed, get connected to services. Here’s a list of EI services by state.
Developmental Milestones: Often parents just need to be reassured that their child is developing on track. Here are some resources:
- Learn the Signs: Act Early is the Center for Disease Control’s early milestones page. Includes milestones by age in months and printable and printed (free!) materials.
- Zero to Three is an amazing resource with tons of information for parents on things like infant and child mental health, discipline, school readiness, and more.
- You will have to wade past a few ads, but BabyCenter offers great information – categorized by baby, toddler or preschooler – about developmental milestones and more.
- Your local children’s hospital – if you have one – may be a great resource for information about child development. Mine, the Children’s Hospital of Colorado, offers Babies 101 and Toddlers 101 to answer some basic questions.
- PBS Parents offers sections on child development up to age 8!
- From the American Academy of Pediatrics comes HealthyChildren.org, which offers great “ages and stages” information.