WORTHINGTON — School districts in Minnesota are dedicated to identifying, locating and screening children who may have a disability and be in need of special education services. This identification system, referred to as “Child Find," focuses on children from birth through 21 years of age, including children in the public and nonpublic schools, and school-age children who are not attending school. The Help Me Grow website accepts the “Child Find” referrals for children, but in addition has a variety of very helpful resources available to all parents of young children!
So, the Help Me Grow website is more than just a referral site. The resource is packed with material for parents on developmental milestones, helpful resources and example videos. The resources focus on the development of children birth through age 5 sharing information on typical babies and toddlers as they move, talk, interact and think. The video library and child development materials are spoken and written in Spanish, Hmong/HMOOB and Somalia. If you are a parent of a young child between the ages of newborn and age 5, check this out, as you may be surprised on what information is available to you as a parent.
The second purpose of the site functions as a referral source. Worthington Schools are committed to finding children who may have a disability under any of the 13 categories of disabilities, some of which are: hearing impairment, cognitive delays, autism spectrum, learning disabilities, and behavioral and/or emotional concerns. Worthington Schools share the efforts of referring with numerous agencies, partnering to identify children. Referrals often come from parents, doctors, private and public programs, Head Start, health and human service agencies, pre-school screenings and anyone concerned about a child’s development. Referrals are sent to the Help Me Grow website for follow-up by schools and licensed teachers who specialize in screening, evaluating and serving children with disabilities.
If you have concerns about a child’s development, there are several options for making a referral. The “Help Me Grow” website is located at https://helpmegrowmn.org, or simply call 1-866-693 GROW (4769) for more information. Additional options for referring a child are to talk to a health care provider, or call Prairie Elementary School at 727-1250 and ask for the Early Childhood Special Education Department.
Deb Stoll is District 518's director of special education.