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Programs help children grow, thrive

WeekOfChild
Parents as Teachers educator Marissa Lumpkin, left, works with Kristin Loos and her 8 month old daughter Madison with water play to help expand her sensory experience and motor skills during a visit Friday at her home in Quincy. | H-W Photo/Michael Kipley
Michael Kipley 1|
By Herald-Whig
Posted: Apr. 14, 2018 10:45 pm

QUINCY -- Madison Loos sits up, smiles and is curious about the world around her -- a growing toddler.

Now 8 months old, Madison, was visited by a Parents as Teachers educator on Friday. Marissa Lumpkin was watching to see how Madison is doing developmentally.

Kristin Loos, 37, explains that her daughter, Madison, was born about two months premature.

"She weighed 3 pounds, 15 ounces and was in Cardinal Glennon Hospital in St. Louis for about a month," Loos said.

When mother and daughter were home, it was a big relief. Madison was healthy, but Loos wanted to make sure everything was on track.

"I'm an occupational therapist with Blessing Homecare, and I just wanted to know from a therapist who deals with children whether Madison was doing what she should developmentally. I wanted to know if she was hitting her milestones," Loos said.

That's where Transitions of Western Illinois got involved. Transitions has the Parents as Teachers program among its offerings.

"Our infant and toddler programs serve young children, ages birth to 3 years. Our goal is that by the age of 3, the children we serve are at age level developmentally and able to enter school and ready to succeed," said Barb Baker Chapin, director of development at Transitions.

Chapin said Transitions is celebrating Week of the Young Child from April 16 to 20. In fact, there's an emphasis on children throughout April. It is Child Abuse Prevention Month and Autism Awareness Month as well.

"During fiscal year '17 we served approximately 300 young children and their parents," Chapin said.

Lumpkin meets with the Loos family weekly in their home.

"She doesn't just look at how Madison is doing. She looks at the whole family," Loos said.

In this case, Lumpkin has had a chance to see how Loos and her husband, Jody, interact with Madison and their other daughter, Claire, who is nearly 2 years old.

In some cases, PAT educators might spot things like a high stress level for one or both parents. The interaction with other children also is important to the household dynamic.

Loos agrees that a second child changes things. She said Claire loves her little sister, but "we don't share well" when it comes to the big sister's toys and other possessions.

Madison has been progressing well, but because she was born about two months early, child care experts say her development is likely to be behind by about that same two months.

An audiologist will look at Madison's hearing this week as another safeguard.

"She's smiling and happy. The other day I said to my husband, ‘How can anyone not smile when a baby is giggling,' " Loos said.

Services

Transitions serves children from birth to age 3 who:

º Have delays in speech or motor skills due to a disability, premature birth, health problem.

º Are at risk of such delays or live in families at risk due to poverty, substance abuse, parents' legal problems or lack of education.

Goals of services:

º Help children overcome delays in development.

º Help children prepare for school so that they can be successful academically.

º Increase parents' knowledge of early childhood development and improve their parenting practices.

º Prevent child abuse and neglect.

º Help parents be effective, nurturing and promote their child's healthy development.

?Parents As Teachers

º Emphasizes the parent as the child's primary teacher.

º Provides screening and assessment of the young child.

º Conducts in-home parent and child visits.

º Organizes parent group meetings.

º Does case management and referral to needed medical and social services.

º Makes referral to the public school's early childhood programs when the child reaches age 3

There is no cost to a family to receive services thanks to grants from the state and matching funds from the United Way of Adams County.

Referrals for services or requests for information may be made by calling 217-223-0413.

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