Child experts say the first five years of life are critical for building the foundations necessary for success in school and in life.
One tool that parents can use to track their child’s development is developmental screening.
In central and western New York, “Help Me Grow” offices want to help parents do just that.
Meet Maximus Floyd Walker, 14 months. Max and his mom Miranda participated in the Early Childhood Development Screening Challenge, in partnership with Early Childhood Alliance and “Help me grow.”
What do you want to know
- Help Me Grow in Onondaga County is offering a chance to win $250 for giving your child two developmental screenings in April
- The five areas of development are communication skills, fine motor skills, gross motor skills, social-emotional skills and problem solving.
- Childhood experts say the first five years of life are key to laying the foundations for success in school and in life
Miranda Walker is Maximus’ mother.
“As a parent, it just gives me comfort to do what I’m supposed to do as a mother,” she said. “I can’t, I don’t know if I’m teaching him everything. Who knows if you teach your child everything? There are so many things to learn. Parents should really consider screening their children early just to catch those signs, if there are any, just to make sure their child hits those critical milestones in the early years.”
Laurie Black is director of the Early Childhood Alliance. She said parents of children from birth to age 5 can use the online Help Me Grow New York Ages & Stages questionnaire to see if their children are reaching developmental milestones.
“We know nationally that approximately one in four children are at risk of developmental delay. And so these screening tools are not an assessment or an assessment, but they help parents identify concerns they might have,” Black said.
The five areas of development are communication skills, fine motor skills, gross motor skills, social-emotional skills and problem solving.
Black said if there was a problem, then they could connect that family to services for help.
“One of the most common delays in children is communication delay. So parents might start noticing around age 2 that their children aren’t talking as much as others,” Black said.
Walker said: “He’s doing so well. He’s running and jumping. He’s everywhere. Like, he’s literally talking all day. There’s no…He’s doing it, he’s making his presence known in our house, you know, when Max is up!”
It’s a collaboration to make sure kids get the best possible start.
Help Me Grow has offices in Syracuse, Rochester, Greater Buffalo and Long Island. The screening takes approximately 15 minutes.
In Onondaga County, Help Me Grow launched the Early Childhood Development Screening Challenge. Families with children birth to age 5 could earn $250 for completing two developmental screenings in April.