Lovette Lovell R.N., M.E.D. Human Development Family Coordinator, Supervisor Of The Verbal Interaction Programme, Child Development Programme (CDP) shared with us information about the importance of early intervention, the history of the CDP organization, its mission, approach to practice and types of intervention services.

 

The literature is abound with information that attests to how an infant's interaction with objects and humans are vital nutrients for the growing and developing brain. The authors of the article, development in the first three years of life state, "we have learned to appreciate the role of relationships in every aspect of early development."  Morse and Wiley in their book ghosts from the nursery tracing the roots of violence state "as we learn about brain systems and their maturation, there is growing evidence that preschool rather than higher education ought to be the focus of the most creative educational strategies, including interventions to stem emotional and cognitive disabilities that can undermine learning from the time of birth."  It was belief in the importance of prevention and early intervention to improve outcomes for children's intellectual and emotional well-being that led Mr. David Critchley, Mr. Mansfield Brock jr. the then Permanent Secretaries of Health and Social Services, and Education respectively, in addition to Dr. Michael Radford, the Chief of Psychiatry to lobby the government to implement a programme such as the Child Development Programme.

Currently the Child Development Programme (CDP) offers 7 intervention services which are: Verbal Interaction Programme, Portage Programme, Behaviour Management, Family Counselling, Speech, Language Therapy, Occupational and Physiotherapy.  Additional services offered by CDP include the toy and book library, parent education workshops and newsletters and the K.E.M.H. initiative.  However, the service that people are most familiar with is CDP's screening and assessment service.  This programme includes the developmental screening offered to all 24 - 30 month olds resident in Bermuda.  The screening evaluates the child's cognitive, language and motor skills.  It also explores any behavioural concerns the parents may have in addition to examining how parents are coping with their parenting responsibility. Based on the results of the screening, if deemed necessary, families are offered a more detailed assessment of their child's development by the psychologist and or participation in any one of the intervention services.   All of CDP's services are voluntary.  The Verbal Interaction Programme is a general stimulation programme offered to typically developing children with concerns in their language or play skills during screening or the quality of the parent child relationship.

The Portage Programme is the programme offered to children with identified delays in cognition.  It is modelled after the Portage Programme from PortageWisconsin, U.S.A.  The home intervention worker and the family work in partnership to develop and implement individualized intervention plans for the child.  The intervention seeks to enhance the child's language, cognitive, motor, self-help or social skills.  All skills are worked on in the context of the family's rituals and daily routines and the child's play.

Behaviour Management Programme this programme is based on the work of Rex Forehand and enables parents to learn more effective strategies for managing their child's behaviour.  Essentially the programme teaches parents the following 6 skills: Attending, Rewarding, Ignoring, Giving Effective Directions, Rules, Limits, Consequences and Time Out.

Family Counselling this service provides support to families related to parenting, child development and family issues

Speech and Language Programme this service promotes the development of language comprehension and language expression.  It also assists with articulation; speech fluency and appropriate voice use. Speech language pathologists also facilitate the development of swallowing and feeding skills.

Parent Education Workshops these workshops consist of three 2 hour sessions were parents learn about:  discipline methods that work, how to prevent problems such as tantrums, ways to build a loving bond with their child, ages and stages of development, great ways to care for themselves.

K.E.M.H. initiative: this commenced in January 2004 and consists of CDP staff delivering educational information, to parents of newborns on the maternal child unit at the K.E.M.H.   The information includes DVDs on topics related to parenting such as in formation on bonding and attachment, developmental booklets and information on other government services supporting children and families.

Conclusion; in the book from Neurons to Neighbourhoods the science of early childhood development the authors state "the elements of early intervention programs that enhance social and emotional development are just as important as the components that enhance linguistic and cognitive competence.  Some of the strongest long term impacts of successful interventions have been documented in the domains of social adjustment, such as reduction in criminal behaviour."   hence I do hope that in as much as you have increased you knowledge about CDP services that you will leave here with the commitment not only to encourage your co- workers, employees, family and, friends with children from birth to four years to utilize our services but also that you will make a personal commitment to support not only the intellectual growth of Bermuda's children but their social emotional health. In your own personal way because in so doing we will be able to build the Bermuda that we all want to enjoy.

The thanks of the club, could of course only be given by, PP Mansfield "Jim" Brock.