#SuccessStartsHere: Ethan’s Story

Ethan Tumale

At 18 months old, Ethan wasn’t speaking. His mother’s friend told her about Easter Seals North Georgia’s Babies Can’t Wait program. Although Ethan’s parents were concerned about Autism, Babies Can’t Wait service coordinator believed that Ethan would progress with speech therapy.

For the next year and a half, speech therapist Mary Ann came to Ethan’s house once a week for thirty minutes. It took several months, but May Ann was able to engage Ethan in activities. She made learning fun for him as he was a high-energy child.

Ethan’s learning didn’t stop when Mary Ann left, though. “We would see what Ms. Mary Ann was showing him. Then, over the six days that she is not with him, we would continue,” said Ethan’s dad, Jay. She would also recommend activities. For example, moving little pom poms by blowing on a straw was a fun way to work on the mouth muscles needed to form words.

Continue reading

August is Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month!

This month you’ve gotten your children’s immunizations and made sure they are ready for school. Did that include their eye health? That is an often overlooked aspect of children’s development. August is Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month. Our partners at Prevent Blindness Georgia screen children in our child development centers to ensure Georgia’s children are vision ready for school!

Prevent Blindness Georgia’s website provides valuable information about preventative care, safety and problems eyes belonging to all ages.

Prevent Blindness recommends a continuum of eye care for children to include both vision screening and comprehensive eye examinations. All children, even those with no signs of trouble, should have their eyes checked at regular intervals. Any child who experiences vision problems or shows symptoms of eye trouble should receive a comprehensive eye examination by an optometrist or an ophthalmologist.

Suggested timetables for children’s eye health, based on key children’s health organizations are:

Newborn infants

Newborns should have their eyes checked while still in the hospital nursery. This examination in the nursery should be for general eye health and include a red reflex test. This examination can help detect several congenital eye problems, some of which can be very serious and permanently threaten vision.

During regular well baby exams, from birth to 3 years of age

Pediatricians should use family vision history and a vision assessment to see if vision problems exist. Beginning at well-child exams at age 3 and continuing annually through 10 years of age, vision screenings should be performed assessing your child’s visual acuity and ocular alignment.

If a child fails a vision screening or there is any concern of an eye or vision problem

The child should be referred for a comprehensive professional eye examination. This combination of vision screenings with referral for a comprehensive professional eye examination are the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Association supports a comprehensive professional eye examination performed by an eye doctor at age 6 months, 3 years and 5 years for all children.

Prevent Blindness strongly believes that some children should be directly referred to an eye care specialist for a comprehensive eye examination rather than undergo a vision screening. These include:

  • Children with readily recognized eye abnormalities such as a crossed or wandering eye or a droopy eyelid.
  • Children with known neurodevelopmental disorders in any area (e.g., hearing impairment, motor abnormalities such as cerebral palsy, cognitive impairment, autism spectrum disorders, speech delay). These children have a higher rate of vision problems than those without neurodevelopmental abnormalities.
  • Children with identified systemic diseases known to have associated eye disorders, or those with family histories of a first-degree relative with strabismus, amblyopia, or high refractive error.
  • Children whose parents believe their child may have a vision-related problem.

The above information was republished with the permission of PBGA.

Tips to Make School Transition Easier

I know it’s hard to believe, but the new school year is right around the corner (if it hasn’t started yet). ESNG’s Early Childhood Mental Health Manager Dr. Juanita Brigman offers some advice to help you and your young child have an easy transition as he/she starts preschool.

Weeks before starting school:

  1. If your child had a later bedtime during the summer, help him/her get into a preschool schedule by keeping to his school bedtime about 2 weeks before school starts.
  2. Read books about starting school. Here is a list of recommendations.
  3. Visit the school and let the child tour the classroom and meet the teacher.

The night before the first day:

  1. Let your child choose (weather- and school-appropriate) clothes for her first day.
  2. Pick a bedtime that gives your child a good night’s rest before the first day. Keep the bedtime routine soothing and relaxing. Don’t focus too much (or at all!) on the first day of school unless he wants to.
  3. Have a nutritious breakfast that helps your child focus on fun not hunger.

The morning of the first day:

  1. Children pick up on the reactions of the trusted adults in their lives. So try not to look worried or sad, and don’t linger too long. Say a quick, upbeat good-bye and reassure your child that all will be well.
  2. Think about creating a special good-bye routine. For example, you can give your child a kiss on the palm to “hold” all day long. Or, the two of you can sing a special song together before you leave. Good-bye routines are comforting to children and help them understand and prepare for what will happen next.
  3. When you enter the classroom on the first day, calmly reintroduce the teacher to your child, then step back to allow the teacher to begin forming a relationship with your child. Your endorsement of the teacher will show your child that he or she will be happy and safe in the teacher’s care.

Resources:
https://www.zerotothree.org/resources/78-preschool-prep-how-to-prepare-your-toddler-for-preschool

http://www.scholastic.com/browse/article.jsp?id=1372

http://kidshealth.org/en/parents/adjust-to-preschool.html#

Monthly wrap up – June & July

Don’t get mad at the messenger, but summer break is almost over! We did a lot in June and July and here’s a quick wrap up of our activities:

Awareness:

blog5

We hope you are enjoying the lazy days of summer. When we say lazy, though, we hope you don’t forget the importance of safety during the season of pools, beaches, sun, trips, insects, and heat! Just to help you out so you can go back to enjoying the fun, we’ve put together some quick safety tips.

Mansell Dad

They say that parenting is the hardest, yet most rewarding job. Dads play an equally important role in parenting as do mothers, but sometimes their importance gets overlooked. How do Dads make a difference? Here are just 5 of the many reasons why.

blog2

Don’t forget that it’s very important to make sure your kids continue to learn even though they are not going to school in the next couple of months. Here’s a look back at our tips to help you and your kids prevent summer brain drain.

20160623_112016

At ESNG, we believe in inclusive learning. That includes summer camp. Meet Nicholas, who has spina bifida, who attends a fun and engaging summer camp – with just a few accommodations.

Around ESNG:

QualityRated-logo

This month two of our centers, Brookvalley and Mansell, joined Premier Academy, Madison County, and Warsaw in receiving the prestigious Quality Rating from the Department of Early Care and Learning: Bright From the Start. According to Bright From the Start, “Quality Rated is Georgia’s system to determine, improve, and communicate the quality of programs that provide child care.” We are thrilled to be recognized for our staff’s hard work to educate vulnerable children in Atlanta and northeast Georgia.

DSC04385

Children at our Mansell location had an exciting visit from local emergency workers. Firefighters and paramedics came by and showed kids what they do to keep us safe. They also talked about what kids need to do to be safe in our communities.

CGIA16_PhotoLine_PaulMorse

Our STEM consultant, Garry Harris, was recognized by President Clinton for his achievements in STEM and early education. ESNG is excited to partner with Mr. Harris and have his expertise as we prepare our children with the tools and knowledge they need to be successful in school and life.

20160714_102521

Office Depot Foundation generously donated 300 sackpacks filled with school supplies to us earlier this month. This donation ensures that our children will be ready to learn come August! Thank you, Office Depot.

20160701_114329

Even though it’s summer time, that doesn’t slow down our volunteer program. We had six groups of corporate volunteers from Frazier Deeter, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Kabbage, Cox Automotive, Salesforce, and UPS. These volunteers played with and read to our kids or painted and sanitized classrooms to get them ready for August!

Thank you to all these groups!
Here are photos from the events.

Summer camp: The best week ever…

Attending summer camp is a rite of passage for many kids. If a child has a disability, though, going to summer camp may be more difficult.

Nicholas is an outgoing 11 year old who loves robotics, engineering, and math. When you meet Nicholas, the first thing you notice is that he is happy. He lights up when he talks about STEM, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Camp Invention – oh, and he was born with myelomeningocele, a form of spina bifida.

20160623_113711

 

Nicholas’s mom, Michele, has always encouraged and supported her son to follow his dreams. So, when he was interested in attending a STEM-themed day camp, she was excited, yet apprehensive. Nicholas requires an accommodation for his medical issue. In the past, she has had a difficult time finding adequate care for Nicholas. “When I called to enroll Nicholas, I talked to Windy [Camp Invention’s director]. She immediately told me, ‘Sure, no problem. We’d love to have him’.”

This is his second summer at Camp Invention in Powder Springs, Ga. Each day of the week he builds solar-powered robot bugs, designs an eco-adventure park and discovers the science of slime. He works in groups with other pre-teens who have no idea of his spina bifida. The camp makes one accommodation for him, and that’s all he needs to participate in one of his favorite activities with some of his favorite people.

bug

Nicholas receives support from Easter Seals’ Champions for Children program. The program assists families who do not meet the eligibility requirements for the Katie Beckett Medicaid program. Nicholas the support he receives for medical supplies, medical co-pays, and this camp! “This is his favorite week of the summer. That includes our trip to the beach,” said Michele.

 

5 Tips for a Sensory –Friendly 4th of July

photo-1432837600650-e430234b632a

Independence Day is fast approaching, and while many of us are counting down the days to celebrate with fireworks, parades, and BBQs those same activities can be overwhelming and nearly unbearable for children with sensory sensitivities.
Whether your child struggles with Autism, ADHD, or Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) with a little extra attention and preparation, they too can enjoy the 4th of July fun.

Talk About It
Preparation is essential when it comes to activities with any child. Make sure to prepare your child for whatever you have planned well in advance. Explain, what noises, smells, and activities will be present and follow up with visual aids, like The Story of 4th of July or videos of fireworks. Also, set expectations by giving your child a time frame, so they feel more in control.
Pack Favorite Items
Keeping your child comfortable is the best way to avoid a 4th of July meltdown. Familiar snacks, toys, and games can provide comfort and act as a distraction if your child becomes over-stimulated by any sights, sounds and smells. Continue reading

#DadsMakeADifference

Mansell Dad

They say that parenting is the hardest, yet most rewarding job. Dads play an equally important role in parenting as do mothers, but sometimes their importance gets overlooked. How do Dads make a difference? Here are just 5 of the many reasons why:

1. Dads have an impact on their child’s behavior.

Data from three waves of the Fragile Families Study (N= 2,111) was used to examine the prevalence and effects of mothers’ relationship changes between birth and age 3 on their children’s well being. Children born to single mothers show higher levels of aggressive behavior than children born to married mothers. Living in a single-mother household is equivalent to experiencing 5.25 partnership transitions.

Source: Osborne, C., & McLanahan, S. (2007). Partnership instability and child well-being. Journal of Marriage and Family, 69, 1065-1083.

2. Dads’ presence make for smarter children.

Father involvement in schools is associated with the higher likelihood of a student getting mostly A’s. This was true for fathers in biological parent families, for stepfathers, and for fathers heading single-parent families.

Source: Nord, Christine Winquist, and Jerry West. Fathers’ and Mothers’ Involvement in Their Children’s Schools by Family Type and Resident Status. (NCES 2001-032). Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, 2001.

3. Dads make for healthier babies.

Infant mortality rates are 1.8 times higher for infants of unmarried mothers than for married mothers.

Source: Matthews, T.J., Sally C. Curtin, and Marian F. MacDorman. Infant Mortality Statistics from the 1998 Period Linked Birth/Infant Death Data Set. National Vital Statistics Reports, Vol. 48, No. 12. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics, 2000.

4. Dads’ influences stave off teen pregnancy.

Being raised by a single mother raises the risk of teen pregnancy, marrying with less than a high school degree, and forming a marriage where both partners have less than a high school degree.

Source: Teachman, Jay D. “The Childhood Living Arrangements of Children and the Characteristics of Their Marriages.” Journal of Family Issues 25 (January 2004): 86-111.

5. Dads make for well-rounded children.

“Fathers and mothers have unique and complementary roles in the home,” says Brett Copeland, a clinical psychologist in Tacoma, Washington. “Fathers encourage competition, independence, and achievement. Mothers encourage equity, security, and collaboration.”

How did your father make a difference in your life?

20150414_101432