Birth2Work

When Parents Lead, Children Succeed

Childhood Development and Its Impact on Education and Workforce Readiness

Childhood Development and Its Impact on Education and Workforce Readiness

Co-hosts:
Elane V. Scott
Rick Stephens
Featured Guest:
Judy Towne Jennings, PT, MA

Dear Valued Stakeholder,

On Birth2Work Radio this week – the third show in our wide-reaching health series – I am pleased to welcome Judy Towne Jennings, PT, MA, discussing the critical importance of “tummy time” for infants. Our health series brings you critical conversations with doctors, brain development specialists, nutrition experts and physical therapists, such as Judy, to help you understand more about the disconnected worlds of health care and the public expectations of it.

Building a capable workforce and thoughtful, engaged citizenry for the future, is overwhelmingly influenced by each person’s primary caregiver in their first six years of life. Yet today, we (the broad, societal “we”) keep looking around at each other, panic stricken, saying “What do we do? Why are so many kids being diagnosed with autism, speech delays, and behavioral disorders?” And while theories abound that attempt to explain these substantive changes in our children – such as changes in the medical diagnostic standards, mercury in early childhood vaccinations, paper diapers, even forward-facing strollers – few people have connected more than a few dots in the broad picture of childhood, except for us at Birth2Work.

I pulled this week’s guest right out of the national news. It was the August 9, 2008 issue of Newsweek where I first read Judy’s name in association with Christina Gilliam’s interview “Giving Your Baby Enough Tummy Time.” As the official spokesperson for the American Association of Physical Therapists, Judy gave valuable, easy to understand answers born of her own experience as a physical therapist, on the crucial importance of “tummy time for infants.” Once a tried true way to get babies moving, creeping and crawling around on the floor has become as much of a novelty today as buggies were 50 years ago. Giving babies regular time on their stomachs while they are awake and supervised is critical for developing a baby’s motor skills, like gripping and grasping, holding up the neck and head, developing shoulders and core strength, not to mention eye movement that must precede the ability to read, and tongue movement important to speech development. Who knew? I have been talking about this for years. And I'm excited to talk more about it with you.

In her role as a practicing physical therapist for 40 years, Judy has persisted in providing the best care she could to her patients, even as she noted that critical physical milestones of many of her youngest patients were not being reached. For example, 6 month old babies come into her office and are often now no more developed than a 2 month old. Judy sees this because she has been practicing for a long time. But what about physical therapists who have only been practicing for a short time? Do they see the difference? Meeting these developmental milestones for her youngest patients has become increasingly problematic. For Judy, as a stakeholder in the health profession, it was too important to look the other way. She had to act and began asking others in her profession if she was the only physical therapist experiencing this phenomenon. Indeed, she was not. Together, she and her peers acted.

If you want to know why your child’s physical development is so crucial to long term brain development and capacity building for the future join us today. You won’t want to miss this interview.

Elane V. Scott


Produced: 
03/03/09
Functional Family Guide: 
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