Ages to Stages offer screening for young children

There’s no such thing as a silly question when it comes to the health and well being of your child.

There’s no such thing as a silly question when it comes to the health and well being of your child.

With this in mind, Greater Trail parents with children up to age five, are invited to book an appointment for the Family Action Network’s Ages and Stages event slated for Wednesday at the Kiro Wellness Centre.

Seven service providers will be on hand that day to meet one-on-one with parents before screening their little ones for growth milestones and other functional skills or age-specific tasks that most children can do at a certain age.

“We are really trying to normalize the developmental screening process,” explained Christy Anderson, regional coordinator for the Family Action Network (FAN). “We are pushing to get that message out because the parent is the expert of their child,” she said. “So if they have a feeling that something with their child isn’t on track, then please come in. Let’s have those fears either alleviated or addressed.”

This is the third Ages to Stages day that serves Lower Columbia families from Fruitvale to Rossland.

Word about the opportunity to meet with experts under one roof is spreading, because Anderson said the appointment bookings are filling up quickly.

“I think the approach we take by having all the therapists come to us to connect with the families is quite unique,” she noted.

“First and foremost the parent can meet face-to-face with the service provider. Often it’s the initial connection that’s the biggest hurdle.”

Ages to Stages provides a questionnaire that takes a holistic approach to the child’s well being, because outside of physical milestones, such as hearing and speech, emotional and behavioural issues are also key to healthy growth and development.

“The whole point is that by the time the child reaches Kindergarten, we have made a connection to a service provider who can address any vulnerability that we may start to see,” Anderson said. “That comes with checking early and checking often. If we can detect something through screening and can do something early on, it may disappear by school age,” she added. “Or we can see that they have additional and appropriate supports needed to live a full and healthy life.”

A pre-booked hour long appointment gives parents the opportunity to have their child’s hearing tested by an audiologist and a review with a speech therapist; teeth examined by a dental professional; time with an infant or childcare development consultant; and a session with an occupational therapist and physiotherapist.

Additional resources will be on hand, such as information about screening for blood lead levels.

As popularity of the event grows, Anderson said expanding Ages to Stages day into the Beaver Valley and Warfield/Rossland communities is a priority project for the organization.

“Normalization of the developmental screening process is the thinking behind this,” she said. “We want to get to a place across our region, that early screening is something we do naturally.”

The Family Action Network (FAN) connects parents, educators and professionals through collaborative programming that educates, inspires and positively impacts the broader community.

The organization is working toward the vision of being a leading region in child-friendly development in Canada, explained Anderson. “We envision a region where families feel welcome and connected and where community stakeholders work together to ensure that children grow up in safe, healthy, happy and inclusive environments.”