The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) and Colquitt County Regional Medical Center recently launched DPH’s Talk With Me Baby (TWMB) initiative which will be implemented in their hospital and early care centers.
Since 2014, the TWMB initiative has set out to reach families through various avenues and encourage parents, foster parents, guardians, nurses and early care teachers to talk to babies to help increase early brain development in children ages newborn to three.
Senior research coordinator Timothy Ryan from the Marcus Autism Center, a TWMB partner, trained nearly 25 early care center teachers and nurses as TWMB coaches. Through the training, teachers and nurses learn the skills needed to model and effectively communicate language nutrition messages and practices to families, and support parents as their child’s first and best teacher.
In addition to supporting the training of staff, Colquitt Regional Health System will provide new parents with a “Talk With Me Baby” DVD, a “Feed Me Words” bib, a Talk With Me book, and information on the importance of language.
“In counties, we usually see one group at a time utilize and implement the in-person or online trainings, but Colquitt Regional is truly taking a collaborative approach and taking on language nutrition as a community,” said Kimberly Ross, program manager for TWMB at DPH. “It’s the first time we’ve seen multiple workforces in a community take on this initiative.”
TWMB coaches are trained to help teach families to practice language nutrition by building their skills and coaching them to use these skills with their baby.
In Colquitt County, only 19.2 percent of third-graders are proficient readers compared to 34 percent of third-graders statewide.
DPH recognizes Colquitt’s model as one to be replicated with a goal of improving economic and health outcomes in Georgia.
“We want every baby born in Colquitt County to be on a path to reading on level by third grade and to be surrounded by adults that know the importance of early exposure to language,” said Ross.
For more information, see Talk With Me Baby initiative