ICI Trains Community Health Staff to Promote Child Development and Diagnose Autism Early

Sat Mar 10 2018
ICI's Jennifer Hall-Lande and Asli Ashkir of the Minnesota Department of Health train community health workers.

On February 26,  Jennifer Hall-Lande (standing on left in picture) of ICI's Learn the Signs, Act Early (LTSAE) program and Asli Ashkir (standing at right) of the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) trained community health workers to help parents monitor their children's early development, recognize early signs of autism, and understand the importance of acting early if there are concerns. Held in St. Paul, the training provided information and resources for 30 community workers and MN Act Early/Help Me Grow delegates, many of whom are involved with education and outreach in child health, family health, and immunization safety. Representatives from many community outreach organizations attended, including the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Program; Head Start; and many county public health agencies.

"Asli brought this collaboration and outreach idea to me because community health workers play an important role in promoting child and family health. Community health workers are often asked about healthy child development and autism while they are out working in the community," says Hall-Lande. "I presented a section on early brain development and LTSAE resources for tracking early childhood development. Asli taught a section on autism, including signs of autism and getting connected with early intervention services and supports. Another community partner, Kathy McKay, taught about the early intervention screening and referral system, Help Me Grow. A panel of our MN Act Early/Help Me Grow delegates shared how they worked with families around early developmental monitoring and used materials to provide resource to families."

This community outreach training is a specific example of the collaboration, partnerships, and community connections that have been built through the "Learn the Signs, Act Early" projects that Hall-Lande leads at ICI.