Jeff speaks with Wendy Partin, the Executive Director of the White Plains Children’s Center in Cary about identifying children who may have developmental issues.
What steps should you take if you think that your child may have developmental issues?
First and foremost you want to speak to your pediatrician to address your concerns. If you do not feel as though your concerns are being taken seriously or that your gut is telling you that there is more going on than you are being told, then there are different courses of action in different counties in the state of North Carolina.
County and State Resources…
In Wake County you can contact the Child Development Services Association, or if your child is at least three years old you can contact Project Enlightenment. The program is run through Wake County public schools and offers parenting resources, as well as screening tools. There’s also Child Find, a program available throughout the state. To set up a free screening for your child through Wake County Public Schools, call (919) 431-7700.
In other counties, it is recommended that parents contact the Department of Health and Human Services. Specifically refer to “Child Find” when speaking to them (and to your pediatrician as well).
What do educators look for in identifying a child with a developmental delay?
Educators are not pediatricians, so they should not be offering a diagnosis. Teachers at the Center have experience working with children with developmental disabilities through the inclusion program. “We know what to look for and what are the common signs of a delay,” she said. “When we do notice the signs, we want to look at where the child’s family is at. Is the family aware that something is going on or are they totally unaware that there may be any issues.” Wendy added that often parents with a child with special needs will have a second child that is considered typical; they don’t realize there is anything wrong because they don’t have a typically developing child to compare them to.
Meeting families Where They Are and Providing Guidance.
Wendy explained that you have to look at each individual family and meet them “where they are.” It must be done gradually and that the label isn’t important. “Every child is an individual,” she said, “so we need to have the parents understand that their child’s education is not going to change, just how teachers need to serve them.” Since WPCC’s staff is very familiar with the process, they help the families to transition through the services that are available to them.
To continue to provide programs and services to their students with special needs, the Center is having a fundraiser from September 1st through the 30th To support their on-going mission, please go to the following link: www.gofundme.com/mk297www. For more information about the WPCC, please refer to their website: www.whiteplainschildrenscenter.org or call: (919) 469-2217.