Do you worry that your baby or toddler isn’t meeting those developmental milestones you read about every time you open a parenting book or magazine? I think almost every parent has those fears, and most of the time, it really is nothing to worry about. But sometimes there really is a problem and you need to address it. Where do you turn then?
Lucky for us, North Carolina has an initiative called “Together We Grow.” “Together We Grow” consists of two separate programs in Mecklenburg County – one administered by the Public Health Department and one administered by the Carlton G. Watkins Center. There are a few different ways that your child can be enrolled in either one of those programs. The most common way is probably by a pediatrician’s referral, although some babies (born very early and/or very small) are automatically referred by the hospitals. What most parents don’t know, however, is that you can self-refer your child into the program administered by the Public Health Department for any parental concern. You read that right, but I’ll say it again to be clear. You can refer your child into the program administered by the Public Health Department if you have any concern about your child’s development. When you call Pam Howze, the intake coordinator at the Public Health Department, you will give her certain information about your child and have the opportunity to explain your concerns about your child. In my case, I was concerned because my twin boys were, at the time, not pulling up or making any attempts towards crawling like other children their age. I was also concerned because Twin A – who used to be quite verbal – had stopped babbling or making much noise at all. Both twins were accepted into the program and we were assigned a Child Service Coordinator. My twins’ Child Service Coordinator is incredible! She comes to our house approximately once every one to two months, talks to me and spends time with the boys so that she can evaluate their development. She gives me tons of useful information about what to expect my boys to be doing and how to encourage them to meet those milestones. Thanks to our Child Service Coordinator, Twin A ended up being accepted into the program administered by the Carlton G. Watkins Center (which, generally speaking, is for children up to age 3 who are evaluated to be 30% or more delayed in one area of evaluation, or 25% or more delayed in two or more areas) and is now receiving speech therapy. Twin B had fewer difficulties, and he continues to be monitored by our Child Service Coordinator.
Both boys are now doing great! If I have any concerns at all, I know I can call our Child Service Coordinator and talk to her about them. If Twin B ends up needing some kind of therapy and still is not part of the program at the Carlton G. Watkins Center, our Child Service Coordinator will help me locate that therapy. Oh, and don’t let me forget one important detail. This program is free. Well, like many other things, it’s not exactly free. It is funded by our tax dollars, so we end up paying for it one way or the other. But you are never billed for anything your Child Service Coordinator does. Now that’s a bargain! I am so grateful to the Child Service Coordination program in general, and our Child Service Coordinator in particular, for all of the help that my boys and I have received.
For more information about the Child Service Coordination program at the Public Health Department, you can visit the following link: http://www.charmeck.org/Departments/Health+Department/Programs+and+Services/Clinical+Services/CSC/home.htm