Rauch Foundation Releases Report, Minding the Gaps, On Early Childhood Development

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Rauch Foundation Releases Report, Minding the Gaps, On Early Childhood Development

That waiting-room questionnaire has become a standard part of pediatric checkups at Nassau County’s community health centers, thanks to the efforts of an Astoria, NY-based nonprofit called Docs for Tots. Lombardy says it has helped her pick up on several cases warranting closer attention.

Like most doctors, she never can spend as much time as she wants with her patients, and while Brian’s issues would have been hard to miss, more subtle signs of delay too often escape notice during the hectic half-hour appointments that tend to be dominated by worries about diet, digestion and this week’s ear infection. But when it comes to child development, the newest science is clear: in the early childhood period, even a few months’ head start can make a huge difference. Since the questionnaire was introduced at the clinics, the rate of referrals has gone up to about one in ten kids, bringing services to many children whose needs might otherwise gone unnoticed until the first day of kindergarten.

“In the old days, people would say, ‘Let’s wait six months,’” says Dr. Elizabeth Isakson, Docs for Tots’ executive director. “But a child’s brain develops at such a rate that this is not the time to wait six months.” The developmental screening initiative is just one of several relatively low-cost but high-impact steps being championed by Docs for Tots. Others include work to help pediatricians watch for maternal depression, promoting mental-health support for day care centers, and building a robust regional referral network for children’s needs...

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