Connecting for Kids has received a $15,000 grant from Community West Foundation to fund the distribution of its Empower the Parent brochures.
These brochures, designed for west side pediatric health care providers, offer a step-by-step resource that parents can follow if there is a question or concern about their child’s development.
In addition to answering commonly asked questions about the intervention process, the brochures provide contact information to: state and school district screenings and services; local nonprofits that can offer education and support to the families; and private resources such as psychologists, counselors, speech-language pathologists and occupational therapists.
“This grant will allow us to reach out to nearly 100 area pediatricians by year end and provide resources to children and families who are struggling,” Sarah Rintamaki, Executive Director of Connecting for Kids, said. “The project coordinator will meet personally with west side pediatric health care professionals to describe the project and distribute brochures to their offices. The grant will also enable us to design a Spanish language version of the brochure.”
Community West Foundation credited Connecting with Kids approach.
“We were pleased to award this grant to Connecting for Kids,” David T. Dombrowiak, President and CEO of the Community West Foundation, said. “As we continue to learn more about the complexity of developmental issues in children, as well as the frustration for parents in obtaining early diagnosis and treatment for these children, we feel that Connecting with Kids has developed a very solid and important program and set of tools to help these families.”
Empower the Parent consists of two brochures, one for children from birth through 5 years of age and a second brochure for school-aged children, since the process for public school screenings is different once the child enters school.
The brochures communicate key messages to parents such as "don't wait and see if a child outgrows a developmental delay," children who don't qualify for state/school district services may still benefit from private services and counseling services can be beneficial for many families.
Empower the Parent is a collaborative effort between four nonprofit organizations, Connecting for Kids, Milestones Autism Organization, National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Greater Cleveland, and The Ohio Coalition for the Education of Children with Disabilities (OCECD).
They identify the need to educate parents at the beginning of the diagnosis process rather than waiting until a diagnosis is given.
The project began a pilot phase in spring 2013 with five Westlake-based pediatric groups. These doctors and their staff reviewed and distributed the Empower the Parent brochures to patient families and were overwhelmingly positive about the need for this information.
The Ohio Coalition for the Education of Children with Disabilities (OCECD) was added after feedback from the pilot indicated that parents need support for school related issues including IEP information and advocacy.