Workshop series designed to boost health of Native American children

Workshop series designed to boost health of Native American children

Jen Humphrey

Native American parents of young children are invited to a workshop Tuesday, April 2, in Mayetta to help foster the health and development of Native American children from local tribal communities. The program is part of a partnership between University of Kansas researchers and area urban and rural Native American communities.

KS Tribes_0.pngThe Healthy Native Children Workshop, from 5:30-7:30 pm at the Old Bingo Hall, 1677 Q Road, will bring together parents of children ages 5 and under to discuss child health and development. Any parents or caregivers of young children may attend.

The event includes a meal and children's activities coordinated by students in the Intercampus Program in Communicative Disorders. Topics that will be discussed include:

  • Managing challenging behaviors
  • Preparing for kindergarten, including early literacy and language
  • Preventing and identifying early hearing loss
  • Promoting healthy and active lifestyles.

The event has been organized and sponsored by the Kansas Tribal Health Summit Planning Committee, the KU Center on Developmental Disabilities and the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation Head Start Program. The event also received support from donors who contributed funds for the KU Life Span Institute during One Day. One KU., a 24-hour fundraising campaign held by KU Endowment on Feb. 20.

"The goal is to encourage parents to discuss common issues in early childhood development and work with early childhood professionals to identify solutions," said Joshuaa Allison-Burbank, a KU speech-language pathologist who created the workshops. "Native American children are 2.89 times more likely to be in special education programs due to developmental delays, so it's important to educate parents on what causes developmental delay, such as recurrent ear infections and sedentary lifestyles. We want to help parents identify and build on their strengths to help set children on a positive developmental trajectory."

The group will also talk about ways to increase language-rich interactions between parents and children, which can help prepare children for literacy and learning.

Additional workshops are being planned in other Native American communities in northeast Kansas.