Purpose of Study This project was motivated by the need to educate and engage parents in the developmental milestones of their young children. This would empower parents to bring appropriate concerns to the attention of their primary care providers and would serve as more effective early intervention for developmental disabilities. This project took place within the Cottonwood Health Center and Aspen Dental Clinic, which are part of a community health center in Soldotna, Alaska.
Methods Primary care providers were engaged to discuss current public health needs within the community health center. The need for early intervention and improved care for children with developmental disorders was identified. Literature was reviewed, showing that early intervention improves functional outcomes, decreases comorbidity, and reduces the future costs of therapy. Existing resources within the community were explored. Partnership began with a local organization that was implementing a family-centered screening called the “Watch Me Grow” program. This program uses the Ages and Stages Questionnaires.
Results A poster was designed to encourage referrals to this community organization while providing some basic developmental milestones for the families served by the community health center. Benefits of the program were presented to the administration of Cottonwood and Aspen.
Conclusion Key contact members from participating organizations were identified and proper follow-up of the referral process was established. Consistent with the goals of Cottonwood, this project sought to establish networks within the local area. This partnership allows for a broader team of care providers for families of children with developmental disabilities.
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