September is the start of a new school year, and for families with busy lives, it may feel like ‘New Year’ as they get back into routines and fall activities.
This time of year, it’s always good to reflect on your child’s growth and development, something that may be evident as they have grown into bigger clothes or shoes. It may be obvious in a new skill they learned over the summer.
Whatever the case, parents with questions about a child’s development and how well they may be moving, speaking, doing day-to-day activities, or socializing with others have an easy first step to get answers and connect to services.
The newly launched SmartStart Hub at Five Counties Children’s Centre helps parents and caregivers with concerns about child development more easily connect to the help they need close to home.
Navigating the system is challenging at the best of times, but more so if families are worried about a child’s ability to speak, move around, or get along with others.
SmartStart Hub is available to families in Peterborough, Northumberland County, City of Kawartha Lakes, and Haliburton County who have children or youth up to age 19 (or age 21 if still in school).
SmartStart can find support for any child development concerns relating to:
- Moving around
- Performing daily tasks like feeding and eating
- Speaking with and being understood by others
- Getting along with other people
- Taking part in routine activities
Families can visit the SmartStart Hub at fivecounties.on.ca/smart-start-hub/ to register a child and select services from which they think their child could benefit.
All information shared through SmartStart is confidential and secure; no referral or diagnosis from a physician or other professional is needed.
Once a request for services is submitted, Five Counties staff will follow up with the parent/guardian to do an intake assessment to see if their child is eligible and, if so, what the right service is for their child. From there, a referral is sent to the appropriate agency and treatment goes from there.
Services provided through the SmartStart Hub include infant-child development, speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, parent coaching, assessments, and much more. All services are provided in a friendly, supportive, and culturally safe environment that includes the family as a full partner in the care being provided.
Families aren’t the only ones being encouraged to use SmartStart. Online referrals for help can also be made by schools, health care providers, and other community agencies.
SmartStart Hub is being spearheaded by Five Counties, but we’re grateful for the support of our partners. They include: Peterborough Public Health; Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit; Point in Time Centre for Children, Youth and Parents; BGC Kawarthas; Oak Valley Health System (Infant Hearing Program/Blind-Low Vision Program); Kinark Child and Family Services; Dnaagdawenmag Binnoojiiyag Child and Family Services; and Northumberland Child Development Centre.
Consider SmartStart the front door to support for a child’s developmental needs. We’ve rolled out the welcome mat, so be sure to drop by for an online visit at fivecounties.on.ca/smart-start-hub/.