Board of Regents of the University of Oklahoma Health Science Center
Date Submitted: 04/2022
Assistant Director, Pediatrics
Oklahoma Autism Center, 3901 NW 6th Street, Suite 100, OKC, OK 73116
Rating Category: Promising Practice
Focus Area: Child Development
Focus Population: Teachers, Caregivers, Parents
Goals and Outcomes: The primary goal of this proposal is to ensure that providers in childcare settings are knowledgeable about the importance of monitoring a child’s development and have the tools needed to do this easily. This ensures that developmental milestones are tracked, families are more engaged in monitoring their child’s development, and children with potential developmental delays are more quickly identified and referred for appropriate services. To accomplish this goal, we will utilize “Learn the Signs. Act Early.” (LTSAE) campaign materials developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The materials and resources are available free to the public and accessible to diverse audiences (e.g., available in Spanish and several other languages).
Another important goal is to help support childcare providers so that they are better able to meet the needs of a diverse group of children including children with developmental delays. Using “Provider Cafes,” information will be provided related to how to support development including a wide range of child needs such as children with language or communication delays, autism, ADHD or other developmental concerns.
Lastly, by providing regular opportunities for peer-to-peer discussion with a facilitator, “Provider Cafés” will promote provider resiliency and empowerment through opportunities for peer discussion and technical and material assistance.
The ultimate desired outcome of this project is to identify children with potential delays as early as possible and ensure that they are connected to available resources and fully included and supported in childcare settings.
This submission aims to improve outcomes for children by facilitating awareness, training and support in developmental monitoring for early care providers (e.g. childcare centers, in-home providers). Our aim is to increase provider awareness and knowledge regarding the importance of developmental monitoring as well as what to do if concerns are identified. This will be accomplished with a dual-level approach of a broad informational campaign to promote knowledge and awareness as well as provide targeted support and technical assistance to providers.
The first phase of this project will focus on the dissemination of developmental monitoring resources, both as ready-to-use tools and materials for providers and through short informational/training videos on topics pertinent to developmental monitoring and support in an early-childhood environment. These materials and resources will be distributed via social media and existing provider networks to promote awareness and knowledge about monitoring development and to secure interest in the secondary phase of interactive training activities. This campaign will utilize existing materials and resources drawn from the CDC’s “Learn the Signs. Act Early.” developmental monitoring campaign, including their series of “Watch Me!” online training modules for early childhood providers. Additional information about resources and next steps for families will be included.
The second phase of activities will focus on providing engaged support for early care and learning partners identified in the first stage. We will implement a Provider Café model where providers participate in interactive virtual sessions hosted by a mediator and professional support experts. The goal of these sessions will be to provide in-depth discussion and support regarding early childhood development and the importance of identifying potential delays early. Building on the topics and resources shared in the first step of this proposal, the Provider Cafés will include provider-directed conversations about the role of developmental monitoring in promoting family resiliency as well as specific topics highlighted in each Café related to discussing concerns with families and strategies to support children with developmental delays in childcare settings. This will give early care providers the opportunity to voice their own experiences and needs, benefit from peer-to-peer discussion/support and receive expertise from experienced facilitators.