Act Early Network News, Spring 2021 Issue

May 131, 2021

Spring 2021 Issue

NEWS FROM ACT EARLY NETWORK PARTNERS
   
AUCD Welcomes 4 New Learn the Signs. Act Early. Ambassadors

AUCD and CDC are proud to announce four new Act Early Ambassadors in Delaware, Louisiana, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island. Please join us in welcoming Sarah Mallory (Delaware), Laura Thornton (Louisiana), Jennifer Pineo (New Hampshire), and Jennifer Sanchez (Rhode Island)!  

Sarah Mallory is an Assistant Professor of Special Education at the University of Delaware with a joint appointment at the School of Education and Center for Disabilities Studies (CDS). Laura Thornton is a Developmental Screening Coordinator at the Louisiana Department of Health. Jennifer Pineo is a Project Coordinator at New Hampshire Family Voices. Jennifer Sanchez is an Early Intervention Technical Assistance Specialist at the Paul V. Sherlock Center on Disabilities at Rhode Island College.

Locate the Act Early Ambassador in your state!

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

   
Webinar: Assessing and Addressing Priorities and Inequities in Developmental Monitoring and Early Identification: Strategies from the Act Early COVID-19 Response
May 13, 2021 | 11AM-12PM, Eastern

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been disruptions in care and increased delays in early identification and early intervention services for children with developmental delays and disabilities. This has especially impacted and further heightened inequities experienced by children and families of color and those from under-resourced communities. The CDC's Learn the Signs. Act Early. (LTSAE) initiative promotes collaboration among early childhood programs in states and territories so children with autism or other developmental delays and disabilities can be identified early and referred to appropriate services and supports. As part of the COVID-19 response, the Act Early Network and partners are supporting early childhood systems, programs, providers, and families to support recovery and strengthen resilience skills, behaviors, and resources of children, families, and communities. Please join AMCHP and our partners at the American Academy of Pediatrics, Association of University Centers on Disabilities, and Title V, family and community leaders from the Act Early COVID-19 Response teams on this webinar to:

  • Understand current gaps and strengths in early childhood systems to address early identification of children's developmental needs
  • Identify systems and program priorities that advance equitable and optimal children's health and development outcomes.
  • Describe how LTSAE resources and strategies can used to address priorities in promoting children's health and development, and early identification of needs

Register Today! (Unable to attend live? Register to receive webinar materials and follow-up information.)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

   
CDC's Milestone Tracker App Has a New Look!

CDC's "Learn the Signs. Act Early." program is excited to announce that its popular Milestone Tracker app has a new and improved look and user experience! A recent update now gives users the ability to add a photo of their child and complete a checklist using corrected age for children born prematurely. The app also features a more engaging tips and activities section, interactive milestone checklist design, and more!

Existing app users will notice these new enhancements either automatically (if their device is set to automatically update), or after manually updating the app. We hope you will download the updated version from the App Store or Google Play today.

Interested in promoting the new version of CDC's Milestone Tracker app to families and partners? Download the new promotional toolkit in English or Spanish for shareable social media graphics, newsletter content, and more.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

   
New Resource: Milestones Matter with CDC and Vroom!

This engaging new poster from "Learn the Signs. Act Early." and VroomTM share the importance of tracking children's development and using brain-building tips to add learning to everyday moments. Print this resource from your desktop or send it to a local printer for larger sizes. Display the poster as a resource to help encourage families to track their child's milestones and try brain-building tips to promote their child's development. Click here to download in English or Spanish.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

   
NEW! "Learn the Signs. Act Early."  Digital Toolkit

We are excited to let you know about the availability of a new Digital Toolkit! This toolkit provides a brief snapshot of some of the most popular LTSAE materials and resources including CDC's Milestone Tracker App, Milestone Checklists, Developmental Monitoring and Screening fact sheets, Information for Families, Early Intervention Information by State, and more.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

   
NEWS FROM THE ACT EARLY NETWORK
   
Montana's Act Early/COVID-19 Response Team Launches Pilot Partner Engagement Program 

Spring in Montana has brought growth and development for LTSAEOur COVID-19 grant partnership has led to rich relationships, a flood of ideas and the formation of our first Pilot Program! Focusing on a two-part series, Kaitlin Fertaly and Marcy Hanson, through multiple engagement opportunities with the Montana Act Early Team, constructed a fun and interactive program for our partners. The Pilot Program objectives were as follows:

  • Participants will describe the four steps of early identification.
  • Participants will demonstrate active utilization of the Learn the Signs. Act Early. Milestone Tracker app.
  • Participants will describe ways in which LTSAE may enhance their program and family interactions.
  • Participants will list three tools from the LTSAE website that will be integrated into their existing program and curriculum.

In all, we had twelve Head Start/Early Head Start program managers and staff from across the state participate. Each participant became a parent for a Milestone Tracker app activity, engaged in a scavenger hunt on the CDC website, and discussed ways they could integrate the LTSAE tools into their practice. We also addressed barriers they are currently facing and ways to overcome those obstacles.

It was a fun and exciting way to learn more about are partners and offer resources to support our amazing workers and families in the state.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

   
Maryland Parent Forum on LTSAE

Caregivers and parents of young children in Maryland have had their share of webinars and surveys. Even though they were "all surveyed out", we needed to know what was going on in their communities when accessing resources. In February 2021, during a parent leadership training that covered 11 of the 24 counties in Maryland, parents were asked about LTSAE and how they accessed resources in their communities. These 18 parents shared positive views of LTSAE materials and resources that were being delivered mostly through their local Infants and Toddlers Program and through word of mouth from various groups. Parents reported that more engaging interactions are needed between families and pediatricians, and that information given by their children's pediatricians would be used. Parents and caregivers in more rural areas enjoy the telehealth services they are receiving thus far, reporting that many of them would continue with telehealth. This allows them the opportunity to not have to travel hours to specialty doctors in Baltimore City or to have to pay someone for child care of other children in the household. The information gathered in this session will be used to inform statewide agencies that provide services and support to families across the state.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

   
Parent Navigator Team's COVID-19 Response at the University of Southern California's UCEDD

The Parent Navigator (PN) Project provides three full-time Parent Navigators, who are parents of individuals with developmental disabilities themselves and have extensive experience in system navigation, to assist families with linkage to Early Intervention Services, the CA Regional Centers, and other appropriate community resources.

Based at the University of Southern California's UCEDD at Children's Hospital Los Angeles and funded by the CA DDS Promoting Service Access and Equity Grant, the PN team serves a largely low-income and Spanish-speaking patient population.

In March 2021, it became evident that the medically and socially complex families under their care were not able to access COVID-19 vaccination appointments with ease, due to language, digital, and practical barriers. In response, the PN team was able to schedule 175 family members of children with DD for their COVID-19 vaccinations at three vaccination sites across Los Angeles. These efforts would not have been possible without their partnership with agencies such as South-Central Los Angeles Regional Center, El Arca, the Tierra Del Sol Foundation, and the City of Los Angeles Department on Disability.

Through the COVID-19 outbreak, there has been a greater need for assistance with obtaining generic services. Since April 2020, the Parent Navigators have helped an additional 117 families with obtaining IHSS, 96 with obtaining SSI, 46 with housing needs, 63 with food insecurities, 59 with legal resources, and 206 families with COVID-19 supplies and PPE. The PNs have executed this response while continuing their usual efforts in helping over 1,000 families per year with linkage to Early Intervention and other services.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

   
Minnesota Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities Program (MN LEND) Fellow Engages WIC Clinics 

Kristin Norderud had the fortunate opportunity to work with the LTSAE program through her role as a fellow in the Minnesota Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities Program (MN LEND) with mentorship from Dr. Jennifer Hall-Lande (MN Act Early Ambassador/MN LEND Faculty). Having work experience as a Registered Dietitian with the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program - she knew immediately that she want to connect with WIC clinics around the Twin Cities metro area to share tools and resources made available by LTSAE to support parental engagement in monitoring the signs of healthy child development. Despite challenges related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and adjustments to WIC appointment modalities, Kristin was able to work with staff at two separate WIC programs to complete presentations about developmental milestones in children and walk staff through using the Milestone Tracker app. Between both presentations, she educated nearly 40 WIC staff members. The staff was so appreciative to learn of the Milestone Tracker app and noted that they were excited to share this tool with families. Building on the success of LTSAE materials, Kristin also connected with the Hennepin County Library, which serves nearly 1.2 million residents annually across 41 libraries, to share the CDC's Amazing Me! books for children which also seeks to encourage parental engagement in monitoring child development. 

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

   
RESOURCES YOU CAN USE
   
CDC Launches New Web Feature Highlighting Provider Resources on Alcohol and Polysubstance Use During Pregnancy

The CDC has recently added a page to their website that highlights resources doctors can use to address the use of alcohol and other potentially harmful substances during pregnancy. Prenatal alcohol exposure is known to increase the chances of miscarriage and stillbirth, as well as a range of lifelong developmental disabilities. These disabilities, known collectively as fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD), can cause a range of physical, psychological, and neurological problems, including poor memory; hyperactivity; learning disabilities; heart, kidney, or liver problems; poor coordination; vision and hearing problems; and more. Learn more about resources for alcohol and polysubstance use during pregnancy.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

   
     

News from Act Early Network Partners

AUCD Welcomes 4 New Learn the Signs. Act Early. Ambassadors

Webinar: Assessing and Addressing Priorities and Inequities in Developmental Monitoring and Early Identification: Strategies from the Act Early COVID-19 Response

CDC's Milestone Tracker App Has a New Look!

New Resource: Milestones Matter with CDC and Vroom!

NEW! "Learn the Signs. Act Early." Digital Toolkit

News from the Act Early Network

Montana's Act Early/COVID-19 Response Team Launches Pilot Partner Engagement Program

Maryland Parent Forum on LTSAE

Parent Navigator Team's COVID-19 Response at the University of Southern California's UCEDD

Minnesota Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities Program (MN LEND) Fellow Engages WIC Clinics

Resources

CDC Launches New Web Feature Highlighting Provider Resources on Alcohol and Polysubstance Use During Pregnancy

Would you like to share important Act Early updates or innovative practices from your state, program or organization?


Submit your updates for the next Act Early Network News (Spring 2021) by emailing Danielle Webber ([email protected]).