Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Parents as Teachers (P.A.T.) is a national organization - I heard about it a few years ago but brushed it off as something to do with homeschooling. And I was of the opinion (at least at the time) that parents who homeschool their children get "crazy eyes." I have not completely reversed that opinion, but I allow for more shades of gray at this point in my mamadventure.
I signed my 2 year-old Gonzo up for the program. I think it is going to be fantastic. A facilitator comes to your home once a month to meet with you and your offspring. They help you observe and engage your child at play, talk about developmental milestones and make suggestions for reaching goals you have set for your kiddo. This helps diagnose any problems and then connect you to the right resources. It also has regular parent meetings, playgroups, etc...
Tomorrow we have a craft session, story and nature walk. Thursday there is a drop-in playgroup scheduled. There are workshops led by early education experts on things like discipline for the "under 5" set.
I see myself using this program to get Gonzo playing with other tots her age (she currently covets her big sister's friends) and meeting other parents in the area. It also helps me stay on track to avoid the "2nd child syndrome" where we overlook most everything because the first time around wore us out!
I am very fortunate. My girls appear to be healthy and on track. Think about how wonderful this program is for kids with developmental delays! Having an expert in your home who says "Yeah, let's get ___ screened. I think your concerns are valid." Or better yet - "You know, I really feel like we should give this a few more months before we act on it. Many kids take a while to master ____." It is like a second opinion in a world where second guessing yourself is day to day business. I know many parents who had to fight with doctors to get their kids diagnosed on the autism spectrum. P.A.T. is centered on empowering parents and connecting them with the resources they need. Decent stuff.