The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has debuted a new, free app for tracking a child’s development like taking a first step or saying a first word. The tracker, part of the Learn the Signs. Act Early program, also gives parents tips to help their child to learn and grow, recognize delays and the ability to share this information with their health care provider. The app offers:
- Interactive milestone checklists for children ages 2 month through 5 years, illustrated with photos and videos
- Tips and activities to help children learn and grow
- Information on when to act early and talk with a doctor about developmental delays
- A personalized milestone summary that can be easily shared with the doctor and other care providers
- Appointment reminders
Jennifer Auman, program manager of Nebraska’s Maternal, Infant & Early Childhood Home Visiting Program (N-MIECHV) says the materials are designed for both parents and professionals. “They’re easy to read and understand, plus they have a ton of great stuff you can get for free. As an early child development teacher, and then director, I was always on the lookout for great resources, based on research and best practice, for teachers and parents that were inexpensive or available for no cost.”
She says the Learn the Signs. Act Early developmental materials include posters, booklets, laminated sheets, books for toddlers and preschoolers and educational materials that can be used in a variety of ways. Topics include “How to talk with the doctor” and “How to help your child” as well as milestone sheets and charts.
Said Jennifer: “Mostly I love that they are family-centered and the theme throughout is ‘You know your child best’ that empowers parents and boosts confidence in being a great parent. Suspecting something might be ‘off’ or ‘wrong’ with your child can be nerve-wracking, let alone not having any idea what to do about it, how to talk to the right professionals, fears like what if you’re wrong, but greater fears about what if you’re right? These materials don’t talk down to you, they give you the information you’re looking for, and they direct you to the right resources if you have concerns. The materials are in Spanish and English—many times back-to-back (which also makes me happy because it’s presented in such a way that neither is presented as ‘better,’ it equalizes the language barrier and emphasizes the content).