What is 1st Five?
Iowa's 1st Five Healthy Mental Development Initiative was designed to build partnerships between physician practices and public service providers to meet the needs of all children during the first 5 years of life. Significant brain development occurs during a child’s first 5 years. Many factors could cause delayed growth during this time that could negatively impact the rest of a child’s life. Medical providers who see children age 0 to 5 are encouraged to use approved screening tools during well child exams at ages targeted by the American Academy of Pediatrics. By using tools that screen for social-emotional, developmental, and family risk factors, providers are able to identify children at risk for a variety of concerns. Without the use of a developmental screening tool, only 30% of children with a developmental delay, and 20% of children with mental health issues are identified prior to school age.
How does 1st Five work?
When a parent takes a child to a doctor who is part of Iowa’s 1st Five network for a well-child check-up, the provider will share information about child growth development, ask a series of questions about development, or ask the parent to complete a developmental questionnaire. If a concern is identified, the doctor may refer the family to the 1st Five. 1st Five staff will then contact the family and help them to find resources that will address those concerns. Identified concerns might focus on development and can also include family stressors, parental depression, and other risk factors that might affect childhood development. 1st Five staff will follow up with the referring doctor to let them know if the concerns were addressed successfully. 1st Five services are free, voluntary and confidential. When concerns are identified and addressed early in a child’s life, the results can benefit both the child and the family.
Why 1st Five?
The foundations of healthy growth and development are set in the first five years of life. During these years, children develop a foundation of skills and abilities that they will use throughout their lives. These skills include intellectual, language, and motor abilities that prepare them to be intellectually inquisitive, self-confident, think critically, and be competent in using language. Critical social and emotional skills prepare children to understand others, manage their own behaviors and emotions, form relationships with other children and adults, communicate effectively and work cooperatively with others. These skills are necessary for success in school, in the workforce, and in all aspects of life. The solid foundation necessary for a healthy life is developed in the first five years.
The 1st Five years last a lifetime!
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