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Colorado children edged out of preschool because of limited funding

Thousands of Colorado youngsters who qualify for preschool could be turned away when classes start this month because the state does not have enough money to cover the cost of their education.

The Colorado Department of Education does not maintain precise data on the number of qualifying 3- and 4-year-olds who are denied access because of funding constraints in the state’s preschool program or the federal Head Start program.

Still, the most recent estimates from the agency suggest that as many as 12,010 4-year-olds who were considered to be at-risk because of economic and social conditions had no preschool available to them through the Colorado Preschool Program or Head Start during the 2011-12 school year. That is about 17 percent of Colorado’s nearly 70,000 4-year-olds in 2012.

Could My Baby Have a Speech Issue?

Should your baby be saying more than “goo-goo ga-ga?”

We talked to Jaye Wike, Speech Language Pathologist at Children’s Hospital Colorado, about baby and toddler communication. He shared some key milestones to look for and signs of possible speech issues.

What is the normal age range for children to begin communicating through speech?

• Children often begin using single words at 12 months old.
• By 18 months, children can have 10 to 20 single words in their vocabulary.
• By 24 months, children can have 200 or more single words and will begin to put two-word combinations together.
• Early developing letter sounds that children use between 1 and 2 years of age include p, b, m, t, h and w.

What signs may indicate a child needs help with his or her speech?

Since communication development begins in infancy, there are developmental patterns that occur in the first 12 months that parents should watch for. In the first 3 months infants coo, while babies between 4 to 6 months engage in vocal play and babble sounds.

From 7 months to 1 year, babbling consonant vowel combinations occur, with an increasing variety of consonant sounds. They use intonation, and these sound combinations begin to sound similar to familiar words.

After 12 months of age, signs that may indicate the need for help with speech include no single words between 12 to 15 months or less than 10 to 20 single words by 18 months. Words should include both consonants and vowels. If a 24-month-old child uses less than 50 single words and is not beginning to put two-word combinations together, parents may want to seek advice.

When should parents consult their child’s pediatrician or a speech language pathologist?

Contact your pediatrician if the above signs are not seen, but remember that all children develop at their own pace.

If these skills are not yet emerging, your pediatrician may refer your child for a full evaluation with a speech language pathologist. Along with speech, your child’s understanding and use of language will be screened. For example, at 12 months, your child should be pointing to objects you name, making gestures, and recognizing his or her name. By 18 months to 20 months, your child should also be following simple directions.

Learn more about hearing, speech and learning services at Children’s Colorado.

Mama Goes to Mom Congress–An Insider’s Look

This year I began my education activism in earnest. My tipping point was when my youngest daughter’s school defended their worksheet-based, everyone does the same thing, curriculum. After being rebuffed by the school, I used my blog to express my feelings. And, I’ll tell you – that got their attention, even though that was not my intention, and the attention was not positive. As a result, I felt helpless to make positive change, and I didn’t know what to do differently.

So, it was with enormous anticipation that I attended Parenting Magazine’s second Mom Congress on Education and Learning, representing Colorado. I wondered, about making change in the school system. I wanted to know how do I stand up for my kids? And, is it possible to do it without being labeled a trouble maker? Or “that” mom?

So last week, Mom Congress brought together 51 amazing mom-delegates from all over the country, each passionate about different aspects of education – some bullying, some