The Family Action Network (FAN) is hosting their first mobile screening day in Rossland on Monday, Feb. 23 for parents with children ages five and under. This event allows parents to reflect on their child’s growth and development with a child development consultant.
Sonia Tavares, West Kootenay Early Years Coordinator, understands the importance of the event.
“We know regular developmental checks are an essential part of early childhood growth and development. Screening provides a snapshot of children’s development and parents advise how much they appreciate being given clear information about how their child is progressing,” Tavares said.
Children tend to love the screening day because it’s fun. Being largely play-based, children stack blocks and knock them down, colour with markers and play with balls.
If a vulnerability is uncovered through the screening process, it can be addressed right away preventing a little bump from becoming a larger hurdle down the road. Topics for assessment include sleeping, eating, speech, and social or emotional challenges. The key to detecting a vulnerability in any of these developmental areas is to have them addressed early so that parents can get the information they need to help their child at home. In more pronounced situations, the child will be connected to the appropriate service in our community.
Examples of some vulnerability bumps that a consultant may detect during the screen are speech delay, motor skills, oral motor skills, fine motor abilities and temperament.
If a child is experiencing challenges in pronouncing certain words and it is not addressed by the time they reach school, this could cause some issues for them when they enter the school system.
“Being interested in a variety of solid foods is an indicator of motor skills, oral motor skills, fine motor abilities and temperament,” explains Julia Stockhausen the manager at Kootenay Family Place for the infant development program as well as a director of the Family Action Network.
Playing peek-a-boo at seven months relates to social and communication abilities as well as vision and hearing.
Stockhausen, who has been an infant development program consultant for more than 15 years as well as a nurse for over 30 years, will be present during the mobile Ages and Stages screening day along with three other early childhood workers. Additionally, Jennifer Moll, a speech therapist from Interior Health will be available to meet with families who may have some concerns about their children’s speech.
FAN has hosted three events previous to this one in Rossland. All have been in Trail at Kiro Health Centre. Now FAN is branching out with mobile screening sites as a direct outcome of the FAN parent survey of 2012 that indicated regional transportation could be a barrier for some families to access and receive services.
“One of FAN’s priority projects is to increase opportunities for early developmental screening and an awareness of why early screening is so important for children aged five and under,” said Christy Anderson, FAN Regional Coordinator.
The Ages and Stages day in Rossland on Feb. 23 is now fully booked.
“This is an excellent show of support as parents understand the importance of checking their children’s development early and often,” said Anderson.
For anyone who missed the opportunity to have their children’s development checked at this mobile event in Rossland, FAN will host another screening day at Kiro Health Centre in the fall.
If you would like to speak to an early childhood development specialist before the next event, contact Julia Stockhausen at Kootenay Family Place at 250-365-5616, ext 223.