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May 23, 2017

Developmental Screenings

by Corrissa Frank

If you interact with children either in your personal or professional life, you realize how fast they change. They learn every day, building on previous skills such as building a block tower. One new block at a time until you have a wonderful masterpiece in front of you.

The Sheboygan County Community Partnership for Children (SCCPC) is a cradle to career initiative focused on children, their families and caregivers, first focusing on prevention based programming and activities for children ages prenatal to 5-years-old.  

Starting this year, SCCPC is expanding existing developmental screening events taking place in Plymouth at Generations, with support of these amazing partners: Family Resource Center, Plymouth School District, Sheboygan County Health and Human Services, Birth to Three, Head Start and Family Connections. Through the Born to Succeed Pilot program, a partnership between the United Way of Sheboygan County and the Family Resource Center, these developmental screening events were developed.

Peggy Wiedmeyer, PAT Program Supervisor at the Family Resource Center says, “The goal of any early learning program is that children enter school ready to learn. Our community developmental screening program, which screens children 6 months to 6 years, was developed to help identify developmental delays before a child enters school. Early learning supports can then be provided so that a child has a better chance of entering school ready to learn with his or her peers.”

Seeing the success of these developmental screening events in Plymouth with over 100 children screened in 2016, the SCCPC wants to collaborate with other school districts that normally screen children around the age of 3-years-old to 5-years-old, before they enter 4K or kindergarten.

The Early Learning Center will be the first site in Sheboygan to partner and offer a joint screening event, tentatively scheduled for this August. They currently screen children ages 2 years 9 months to 6-years-old. Through this partnership, children ages 6 months to 6-years-old will have the opportunity to take part in the screening event.

Children screened early by trained professionals help parents become aware of the age appropriate developmental milestones that their children should be reaching. At the event, the parent will fill out the screen themselves at first, answering certain questions about their child’s development. After that, the professional screener with go through the screen with the family. Through this interaction, families can ask questions to learn more about the development of their child, and learn new activities they can do to develop those skills. Families are connected to other community resources that day as well. After the screen is complete, the families are encouraged to share that information with their child’s pediatrician.

Dr. Jeffery Britton, a pediatrician at Aurora Children’s Health in Sheboygan, says, “Early diagnosis of developmental problems is crucial for providing the opportunity to intervene at a time when the brain is still developing rapidly. By catching things early, the interventions can be the most effective to bring the children closer to their typically developing peers. Having a standardized approach to early childhood screening allows everyone to be on the same page – public health, home visitors, the Birth-to-Three program, Head Start and healthcare providers. The screening tools used by the SCCPC match those endorsed by pediatricians and by several state agencies, including the Departments of Health Services, Children and Families, and Public Instruction.”

We all want to see our children thrive. By partnering together through the Sheboygan County Community Partnership for Children, families have a team of experts to support them on their parenting journey. 

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