Based on a national, evidence-based primary care model designed to enhance a baby’s emotional, intellectual, and physical growth during the first five years of life, Summit Healthcare’s Healthy Steps for Young Children program connects parents with Harvard-trained specialists and a wealth of child health resources and information.
The program offers the following services to parents raising babies from birth through the fifth year of life:
child development information line
early literacy activities
lactation consultations and educational sessions
one-on-one physician consultations
playgroups with other children and their parents
“Healthy Steps is a household name throughout the community,” says DeAnn Davies, M.S., CLC, C-IPMH, Director of Early Childhood Outreach and Clinical Child Psychology for Summit Healthcare. “Parents know that if they have questions about their child’s behavior and how to best manage development and wellness between annual visits with their primary care pediatricians, they can call us for answers.”
ENGAGING AND REASSURING PARENTS
The goal of the Healthy Steps for Young Children model is to provide a medical home for families and enhance the relationship between parents and healthcare providers. As a result, moms and dads are more likely to engage fully during annual well child examinations and share information openly with experts who can help them harness their inherent skills as parents.
“Parents often come to well child exams or consultations with a lot of worry about what they may have done wrong,” DeAnn says. “Our job as a pediatric team is to offer them support, not judgment. We see the relief in their body language as we talk with them about what they are doing right.”
WHAT PARENTS CAN DO
After candid conversations with parents, Healthy Steps specialists make recommendations about what actions may improve the experience for the entire family during the precious first years of a baby’s life.
“Parents come to us with sophisticated questions and walk away with solid, research-based answers from our specialists,” DeAnn says. “We all need the right tools in our toolkit to do our jobs. That’s what we provide to parents through this model of care.”