The following is a letter sent to the Delta First 5 Center from a parent whose daughter benefited from developmental screening.

Screening_PosterDuring the early stages of development of my daughter Evalyn Grace, I felt she was underdeveloped in her communication skills. Being a first time mother and hearing constantly, “every child is different” and “do not compare her to other kids,” I began to feel as if I was doing something wrong.  I did feel she was different.  She did not interact with others well.  I did compare her to other kids her age; she was not talking like them.

I began to feel overwhelmed and alone towards my opinion of where my daughter should be developmentally.  Her developmental growth was inconsistent. She would go months without trying a new word. I was later referred to First 5 for developmental screening shortly after Evalyn’s second birthday.

During her first screening, Ms Rhea (First 5 staff member) asked her to repeat a sound. After a few tries, Evalyn had a breakdown. As usual, when asked to make a sound or word she would start breathing heavily, turn red, and cry after not being able to speak.

We began attending classes at First 5 where Evalyn was able to be in an environment with more children her age. Ms. Rhea was able to refer us to the Lynn Center. I was happy to see improvement after attending First 5 for four months. It was a rough start, but I was finally seeing growth in her development in all aspects. After a year attending First 5, Evalyn was able to participate in group exercises and say her name during the introduction songs.

It has now been 18 months since we began attending First 5. She has learned how to interact with the world around her and now has the foundation she needs to build on those skills. Thanks to the First 5 Center staff who educated me on how to better assist Evalyn on learning and building skills needed to be successful in our social and educational goals.

I emphasize that every parent should get a screening for your child. Whether you are a parent who is confident in your opinion of your child’s development or like me, have no idea what to expect. Screening your child will give you a better idea of where your child is developmentally. During some of my daughter’s screenings I caught myself saying, “Wow, I didn’t know she could do that,” or “She needs a little more practice on that.” Whatever your reaction may be, your child can only benefit from the results.

If it wasn’t for the early detection of my daughter’s speech underdevelopment, it would have been very difficult to get the resources I needed to get her help. Thanks to my motherly gut and the First 5 Center staff, my daughter went from scoring extremely low in language and social skills to being the only one at her preschool to pass the Brigance 3-year-old Screen that mostly consists of language development.

Visit a First 5 Center or ask your pediatrician to start developmental screening for your child today.

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