Reach Out and Read During Pediatric Checkups
by Veronica Acevedo, PA-C,Lincoln Community Health Center
As a physician assistant, I, along with doctors and nurse practitioners, incorporate Reach Out and Read‘s evidence-based model into regular pediatric checkups, by advising parents about the importance of reading aloud, snuggling and making moments together. Reach Out and Read helps move primary care to a more comprehensive, two generation approach for child and family health. Trained medical providers use the book as a valuable tool for developmental surveillance and to have important conversations with parents, encouraging them to read aloud to their young children and offering age-appropriate tips.
At the Lincoln Community Health Center in Durham, NC, Reach Out and Read happens at well-child visits, beginning at birth through the age of five. I provide families with “prescriptions to read” and they leave visits with a developmentally appropriate book.
We know when a caring adult in the life of a child pulls a little one into their lap to read, they are creating everyday moments that have the potential to positively impact the development of that child’s brain and as a result, impact their health, happiness and ability to learn. These early moments of a child’s life matter—and their impact can last a lifetime.
By interacting with and responding to a child, parents and caregivers are stimulating the neural connections that build the foundation of brain development – and a child’s future. In addition, these moments build family strengths and resilience, and support the healthy relationships families need. By changing the way families interact together with their children daily, we help develop strong parent-child bonds, buffer toxic stress and mitigate adversity.
Incorporating Reach Out and Read into my practice, gives me the opportunity to model positive interactive experiences during the well-child visit, strengthening parent-child relationships, and supporting children’s cognitive and social and emotional development.
To learn more about Reach Out and Read Carolinas, please visit, www.rorcarolinas.org. To learn more about starting Reach Out and Read in your medical clinic, visit the website and contact the Regional RORC Program Staff based on your region: https://www.rorcarolinas.org/about-us/our-staff/ . A program specialist will discuss how your clinic can embed ROR in well-child visits and walk you through the process to start a program.
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