November Medical Minute

November Medical Minute with ROR-KC Medical Director
Sallie Page-Goertz, MN, APRN, CPNP, IBCLC

The year is streaking to a close. We’re heading into Thanksgiving season, and holiday marketing frenzies!  Those of you who support ROR-KC with gifts of time and treasure are why we are so thankful this year. We’re making our budget and we’re anticipating the ability to add several more clinics to our coalition thanks to your generous gifts. 

This is also the time of year when providers begin to feel stressed with the numbers of ill children. The New York Times headline: the Tridemic – Covid, Influenza and RSV (respiratory syncytial virus)! RSV infections started months earlier than usual, and children are being affected in numbers, overwhelming hospital systems in many communities including ours.

So, when we get to clinic for well child visits, it can be a big sigh of relief. The joy of watching little ones get their book, laugh at the stories, look at me or their parents as they are sharing their new book, is as they say, priceless! Nine-month-old Leah just started laughing while exploring her new animal book – her mom was pointing out the animals, naming them and asking Leah to point at them too! Definitely, raising a little girl who will be ready for kindergarten. Leah will learn so many new words from books that one doesn’t hear in day -to-day conversation. A recent article* mentioned that vocabulary size predicts later academic performance, behavioral regulation, and…even criminal convictions! So not only does one get the love from all of those snuggles, important brain building is happening that supports a child’s bright future!   For all the children attending our KC Metro pediatric clinic, you the donor are the key to helping that happen every day! As we approach this Thanksgiving season, know that ROR-KC is so grateful for each of you.

And putting my Nurse Practitioner hat on, a gentle reminder, or maybe not so gentle…. Are you immunized? Have you gotten all of the boosters you are eligible for yet? Vaccines continue to be important to reduce risk of serious infection, hospitalization and death for both Covid and Influenza. (Unfortunately, no effective RSV vaccine exists yet.)  Have you gotten you children their flu and Covid vaccines? Both are important to protect individuals as well as the community. Make sure you and your family get their Influenza immunization, and updated Covid boosters.

*Flack ZM, Field AP, Horst JS. 2018.The effects of storybook reading on word learning: A meta-analysis. Dev.Psych.54:1334-1346.

October Medical Minute

October Medical Minute with ROR-KC Medical Director
Sallie Page-Goertz, MN, APRN, CPNP, IBCLC

Boo! Fall festivals, Halloween happenings, influenza vaccines for everybody 6 months and older…it’s hopefully a wonderful time of year for most. Every day in our clinics, providers are using the wonderful books provided with the help of our amazing donors, to encourage caregivers to read to their littles. Research has made it very clear that caring adults (and older siblings) being in conversation, reading, singing and playing with the youngest infants and children foster their language and vocabulary development.

An exciting new study published in Pediatrics reports that intensity of shared reading is associated with the risk of socio/emotional problems in preschoolers. Information was gathered on about 5700 young children; the majority were black and had public insurance. Social/emotional concerns were assessed by an Ages and Stages Questionnaire-Social/Emotional (ASQ:SE) completed by a child’s caregivers. Parents reported frequency of reading with their children prior to completing the ASQ:SE during primary care visits. Children with rare, shared reading had a higher risk of an abnormal ASQ:SE compared with those who experienced shared reading on most days. The journal editors conclude that “Reading promotion during primary care visits could support improved social-emotional development and related outcomes for young children.”

Isn’t it spooky that all of the providers at clinics participating in Reach Out and Read are doing just that!  Thank you to all who are helping us continue to promote early literacy skills, vocabulary building, and caregiver-child relationships – but also perhaps preventing social/emotional concerns down the road!