Nationwide initiative promotes early screening for kids from bir - WSLS 10 NBC in Roanoke/Lynchburg Va

Nationwide initiative promotes early screening for kids from birth to 5

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ROANOKE, VA - A nationwide effort is underway now to encourage early developmental and behavioral screening in children before they turn 5. The Birth to 5: Watch Me Thrive! initiative is aimed at promoting early screenings and support for children, families and the providers who care for them.

It's something that's already being promoted in our area. Last year, Smart Beginnings Greater Roanoke developed an online Ages & Stages Questionnaire to help parents gauge how their son or daughter is reaching milestones.

Birth to 5: Watch Me Thrive! brings together information for everyone who interacts with a child to refer to. "It is something that anybody can use," explained Carilion Clinic Pediatrician Dr. Colleen Kraft. "It's something a child care provider can use. It is something a parent can look at. A doctor can look at it. A preschool teacher can look at it and it can help to identify a measure what are those kids learning and if not, what can we do to get them there before they show up at school not ready to learn."

According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, as many as one in four children through the age of five are at risk for a developmental delay or disability. Early identification allows communities to intervene earlier, leading to more effective and cheaper treatment during the preschool years, rather than expensive special education services in later childhood.

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