If anyone understands the importance of getting your child screened for communication delays early on, it is me. It’s something I know all too well because my son was “officially” diagnosed with a speech disability around the age of 2. No one wants to think that there may be something wrong with their child, I know I didn’t, but I also understood that the sooner we addressed the issue, the sooner we could get him the help he needed. Years later, I am so thankful that we got the help he needed early on. Thankfully there are organizations like the FIRST WORDS® Project to help you screen your child(ren) and believe that the earlier you do it, the better.
If you aren’t familiar with the FIRST WORDS® Project, here are 7 things you should know about them:
- FIRST WORDS Project is a longitudinal research investigation in the Florida State University Autism Institute in the College of Medicine directed by Dr. Amy Wetherby.
- Their goal is to identify early signs of developmental language disorders, autism spectrum disorder, and other communication delays in children from 9 to 24 months of age.
- It aims to improve screening tools and early detection of communications problems by emphasizing the role family plays in supporting child development.
- The FIRST WORDS Project wants screening for any child development delays to be routine for parents because there is great value in helping families gain access to early intervention services.
- If your child is between 9 and 18 months old, the FIRST WORDS Project will screen them for FREE and provide you with the results
- Children who are screened will also have access to their Growth Chart membership, which helps parents track important milestones and provides important development tips.
- They use a digital screening tool called the Smart ESAC (The Smart Early Screening for Autism and Communication Disorders) that allows parents to screen their infants and toddlers for skills that develop before children learn to talk like gestures, sounds, actions, etc.
The FIRST WORDS Project provides some really good resources and guidance for parents when it comes to their child’s growth and development. You currently have access the following resources on their website, which can be printed or downloaded:
- Social Communication Growth Charts
- Everyday Activities for Toddlers and their Families
- Importance of Early Intervention Sheet
- The 16by16 Series, a collection of online look books to help families learn about key communication and development milestones.
Ready to get started? It’s easy! Simply visit their website.