Homegrown with Hope: Meeting Developmental Milestones

By  | 

BISMARCK, N.D. - Experts say the most learning a child does in the first three years of life happens in the home. That's what brings developmental experts to homes across the state through the Right Track Program.

Jacey Wanner, an occupational therapist with the Right Track Program, says it's also helpful to share with parents how they can use their everyday living space to facilitate learning.

At Amanda Duckart's home, Wanner goes through a series of exercises to screen Duckart's two daughters.

"I really liked the idea that they come to your house. I don't have to drag the kids out in the morning," Duckart said. "I can just be here whenever and they try to work around my schedule."

Wanner is looking at areas of development ranging from communication, to problem solving and fine motor skills.

"It's so fun that I get to teach the parents if they want a skill to help their kiddos sleep better, or eat a variety of foods. Or if they want them to start walking, I can help them with those things," Wanner said.

Staff with the program say they want to help parents be the leaders in their child's education.

"Every parent loves their child and wants the best for their child," Laura Satrom, Right Track Program Coordinator through BECEP, said. "We work to be able to go in and support parents to reach whatever goals they have and want to work on. Or just, not even reaching goals, but to let them know where their child is at."

Right Track was developed to help identify which children need access to early intervention services for not meeting milestones. If experts see concerns, parents have the choice whether right track will refer them to those services. But, they're also cluing parents onto other skills they can use every day to help their brains and bodies grow at a healthy pace.

"There's been a lot of prevention that's come because families are able to get a lot of information and just be better aware of what expectations they should have for their children," Satrom said.

Parents say the visits are a big help, especially when they feel they have run out of ideas around playtime.

"When they come, they usually tell me wha tI need to work on with the girls, which is really great. They come and tell me specific ideas, what kinds of toys and usually it's things that you already have laying around the house. It's very practical," Duckart said.

To contact BECEP's Right Track Program call 1-701-328-8985. Right Track is available for free to any parent in the state. For information on your area, click the link attached on the right side of the story.