When You Have Concerns About Your Child’s Development

ECLA_RedFlagBroch_2013.inddIf you have concerns about your child’s development, it’s best to seek help right away. That’s because children benefit most when concerns are addressed early in life. Your child may need further assessment from an early intervention provider or a health specialist, so get help today.

Follow these steps:

Step 1: Talk with Your Pediatrician

Schedule an appointment with your pediatrician or health care provider. If you’ve had developmental screening for your child, take the screening results with you. Depending on the concerns you have about your child, and the type of health insurance you have, your doctor can inform you about next steps.

Step 2: Get Your Child Assessed  Continue reading

Andre and the Inclusion Program

spotlightWhen Andre, a preschooler with Down syndrome and delayed communication skills, was struggling with outbursts and uncooperative behavior at his Head Start preschool program, his teachers turned to the Inclusion Program for support.

First 5 Contra Costa allocates $330,000 to the Inclusion Program, which is run by the Contra Costa Child Care Council and helps children with special needs succeed in typical child care settings. In the program, Inclusion Facilitators visit children in their child care setting and provide coaching, training, and specialized equipment for teachers. Parents also receive support to ensure consistency between home and early care settings. Continue reading

Relief for Stressed Parents

TriplePA program we’re funding is helping to reduce parent’s stress, anxiety, and depression, while building parenting skills at the same time.

Called Triple P (or Positive Parenting Program), the program has been used throughout the world to improve parenting skills and prevent child abuse by fostering positive and nurturing relationships between parents and children. Triple P is also effective in helping parents to manage difficult child behavior.

We’re funding Triple P services in partnership with Contra Costa Health Services, Mental Health.  We each allocate $75,000 for the program, with our funding used for parents with young children.  The nonprofit C.O.P.E. Family Support Center provides some of the Triple P classes and trains organizations to implement the curriculum.  To date, 62 providers have been trained.  Classes take place throughout the county, including the First 5 Centers, family homeless shelters, and children’s mental health programs. Continue reading

Rosa’s Boys


Rosa’s family, featured in our annual report in 2006

Rosa Valledor could barely mention the word “autism” when her oldest son Sid, then age three, was diagnosed in 2003.  But with help from the Care Parent Network, a nonprofit that supports parents raising children with special needs, she learned how to access services for her son and found endless support for herself as she faced the challenges of raising a son with autism.

It wasn’t long before she joined a Spanish-speaking support group, began organizing workshops for other parents who had children with autism, and was advocating at local school districts to ensure children received appropriate special education services.

When Rosa’s second son Peyton was also diagnosed with autism, she was especially grateful to be in the Care community. Although receiving a diagnosis that your child has special needs is devastating, Rosa says, it is important to “dust yourself off” and find support for you and your family immediately, “Care helped me get connected to a community I didn’t know existed.” Continue reading

15 Years for Kids: Care’s Parent Mentors

Next month, First 5 is celebrating the 15-year anniversary of Proposition 10, the ballot initiative that created First 5 commissions in every California county to fund health and education programs for children birth to age five.

In recognition of this milestone, we’re revisiting some of the success stories we’ve documented over the years and sharing them on our blog.  Up first is a moving story from 2008, one of my all-time favorites.

Ruvi, Tamika & Morgan

care1In the fall of 2008, Ruvi DeGuzman decided she wanted to help other parents who have children with special needs.

Ruvi’s son, then a teenager, was born with a rare disorder that required the partial amputation of one of his legs during infancy. Now that he was nearing 18, Ruvi was ready to give back and support other families who shared this experience.

Ruvi reached out to the Care Parent Network, a nonprofit that supports parents raising children with special needs, and discovered that Care’s parent mentor program was exactly what she was looking for.

Continue reading

What is Sensory Processing Disorder?

JoAnn knew her son Alexander’s behavior was different even when he was a baby. But once he entered preschool, his problems really surfaced. Zander exhibited overly aggressive behavior. He regularly tackled and punched the other children, called them names, and put everything in his mouth, much like a teething baby would.

JoAnn went to her pediatrician, who said there was no clear diagnosis for Zander. He wasn’t autistic. He didn’t have ADHD. According to JoAnn, “He was not clearly anything, but he was clearly having problems.” Continue reading

Raising a Child with Special Needs: Perspectives from Dads

For nearly a decade, First 5 Contra Costa has funded Contra Costa ARC’s Care Parent Network, a program that provides training, educational support, peer mentoring, and one on one and group support for parents who have children with special needs. Care provides a monthly support group for dads, and last year, connected half a dozen fathers with peer mentors. Read about two Care dads, Bob and Tim, who share their perspectives about the program as well as their experience raising a child with special needs.

1) How did you become involved with the Care Parent Network?

Bob: I became involved with Care in 1998 shortly after my daughter, Tess, had an intraventricular hemorrhage (bleeding on the brain) in utero and was diagnosed at birth with hydrocephalus. My wife & I met Care’s Family Support Coordinator Louise Schneiders. Louise told me about Just for Fathers and I’ve been part of it ever since. It’s a bunch of dads getting together every month to catch up on our lives while sharing a pizza. It’s a great place!

Tim: I was referred by the Regional Center and my wife heard about both the mother’s and father’s group that meets once a month through Care. I decided to check out the dad’s group – pizza and beer didn’t sound so bad. Continue reading

Reading Tips for Children with Special Needs

We know that when parents read aloud with their children regularly, children’s vocabulary increases and they are more prepared for kindergarten. But for children with special needs or disabilities, reading together is not always so simple. The type of story, its illustrations, how the pages feel, or the way the story is told make a big difference.

To ensure children with special needs enjoy books and the positive experience reading with an adult brings, Ange Burnett, the Coordinator of the Contra Costa Child Care Council Inclusion Project, offers these tips:

1. Not all books are appropriate for all children. When you choose books to adapt, consider every part of that book, from color to content. Pay attention to the story theme and the illustrations. Look at the print size, book size, and even the texture of the cover or pages. Continue reading