Posted by Lisa Gum on Apr 21, 2019
Our Rotary club’s focus on education and child/family health allows us to become involved in support programs that help local children and families, while supporting Rotary International's work around the world as well. A first step could be to provide links to resources for families who may be experiencing challenges and don't know where to turn. Often, simply knowing there is support available can take an enormous weight off the shoulders of worried parents and families.


PRESIDING TODAY IS: E-Club Secretary-Elect Lisa Gum

bellDing! We’re now in session.

Welcome all – Visitors, fellow Rotarians and guests alike to this E-Club program!


Four-Way Test

At the beginning of each meeting we remind ourselves of the The Four-Way Test.  Therefore, please remember to ask yourself always . . .

Of the things we think, say or do:

  1. Is it the TRUTH?
  2. Is it FAIR to all concerned?
  4. Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?

Reflective Moments

"Through the eyes of a child, you are invincible."
     -- Nadia Tayob

Light Moments

Q. Why did the banana go to the doctor?
A.  Because it wasn’t peeling well.

Early Intervention: The Proof is in the Pudding 

Twenty-four-year old Becky has a two-year old son, Arthur. She has devoted the past two years to providing for his every need. She decides to take him to the park on a beautiful Spring day to play. Other moms and their littles are playing, laughing, swinging, and sliding. Arthur runs off to play with the others, while Becky follows behind. She notices children about the same age as her own beloved son. One of the children runs up to Becky, places his hands on his face and exclaims, “it’s so windy today!” Becky realizes Arthur could never express this concept. As Becky listens, she hears the other children talking in full sentences, telling her about how much fun they are having at the park.
Becky then sees her own boy, pointing and grunting at the swing. He has never spoken a real word in his life. Becky starts to feel guilty that she has not done her job as a mother. Raising Arthur has been challenging; he does not speak, and he becomes easily upset when Becky does not interpret his needs to get him what he wants. His frustrations grow to the point of extreme tantrums that last for hours, and Becky is often left feeling inadequate, as she cannot help her son.
Becky looks up from her thoughts to see Arthur push another child off the swing. Arthur starts to scream and throws himself onto the ground. The other child’s mother rushes over to rescue her child who is crying, and has a bump on her head and a scrape on her elbow. The other mother looks at Becky with contempt. She is angry that Arthur has been so aggressive and hurt her child. Becky quickly scoops Arthur up, and rushes him, kicking and screaming, to the car, puts him in the car seat, and drives home in tears. She thinks she will never go to that park again.
(photo credit: grandma’s house)
Karen is a 49-year old grandma, who has full custody of her two grandbabies, Tina and Tommy. Karen’s own daughter died a year ago from an opioid overdose, leaving the two children, ages two and three, without a mother. Tommy shows signs of opioid addiction and exposure. He has seizures. His body cannot regulate temperature, and he becomes too hot or too cold easily. He does not eat, and has been diagnosed with failure to thrive. He does not sleep at night, and Karen spends most nights awake trying to soothe Tommy to sleep. He is always cranky and uncomfortable, and he is impossible to please.
Karen is at her wit’s end, as she never gets enough rest, and she is worried that Tommy may not make it to his third birthday. She feels like a failure as a mother to her daughter who had gotten involved with the wrong group of friends and traveled down the road of drug addiction. She also feels like a failure as a grandmother, because she is faced with the seemingly impossible task of raising two young children that have significant special needs. She does not know where to turn.
(photo credit: march of dimes)
Bob and Sue anxiously wait while the nurses and doctors work to revive their newborn baby, Grace, whom they named after Bob’s mother. Grace was born with the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck, and was deprived of oxygen and nutrients for many minutes. She has become unresponsive and her skin is now a bright shade of blue. Suddenly the couple hear the sound they were waiting for: Grace’s tiny gasp leading to soft wails as she is placed on the exam table for the doctor to assess her. The nurses then approach Bob and tell him that the baby shows signs of injury related to the complications at birth. She does not present with normal reflexes, and she appears limp. She cannot open her eyes. Bob comforts Sue as she cries, and they both worry for the future of this new addition to their family.
Although most mothers and fathers experience normal pregnancy, birth, and development of their babies, a percentage of babies are born with congenital abnormalities, are injured at birth, or are exposed to toxic substances such as alcohol or drugs during gestation. These babies are at high risk for developmental delays.

But there is hope! Services are available through many programs whose mission it is to assist families with typically developing children, as well as children with special needs. At the federal level, the Health Resources and Services Administration provides services through the Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB). Their goal is to provide funding and access to resources that support optimal health and improved quality of life.
The good news is that these programs are easily assessible and can provide proven services to help children and families. West Virginia provides evidence-based programs through the WV Birth to Three program, run by DHHR and the MCHB. This flyer shows necessary information about the WV Birth to Three program:
The Maternal and Child Health Bureau recommends that health professionals provide screenings for children at ages 9, 18 and 30 months. If milestones are not met, professionals provide referrals to appropriate agencies for further evaluations. WV Birth to Three provides a guideline for milestones here:
One of the most effective programs supported by MCHB is the Home Visiting program. This program provides the services that the child and family need, within their natural environment. The model incorporates intervention strategies into daily routines, and provides coaching to parents about optimal ways to work with the child within the context of their everyday lives. The following video is an example of how a home visit works: 
Additionally, there are many resources available to assist families with children who are developing typically, as well as those who need additional support.
Our Rotary club’s focus on education and child/family health allows us to become involved in these programs. A first step could be to provide links to resources for families who may be experiencing some of these difficulties. Often, simply knowing where to turn can take an enormous weight off the shoulders of worried parents and families.
Disclaimer: The above stories are fictional, yet based on my years of experience working with many families in several states; any resemblance to actual events are unintentional.
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