What is Help Me Grow?
The goal of Help Me Grow Florida is to promote healthy development for every child in our state. Help Me Grow (HMG) is a unique, comprehensive, and integrated statewide system designed to address the need for early identification of developmental and/or behavioral concerns, and then to link children and their families to community-based developmental and behavioral services and supports.
Early detection and intervention are critical for optimal outcomes for children, but too often children miss this opportunity. Help Me Grow addresses this by building collaboration among community programs, providing a centralized access point for information and referral, promoting surveillance and screenings, as well as educating and informing the community. Help Me Grow supports families, child health care, early care and education, and human service providers. The community can use Help Me Grow to identify early signs of developmental or behavioral concerns and the available community resources to address their needs. Without Help Me Grow, this sensitive period of opportunity may be missed due to untimely assessments or difficulty in finding and navigating appropriate resources. Help Me Grow offers support, answers and hope; helping your children reach their full potential.
- Information on general child development and parenting topics
- Referrals to community resources, such as early intervention agencies, family therapy organizations, literacy support organizations, mentoring and tutoring programs, parenting classes and support groups, recreational opportunities, and much more!
- Developmental screening questionnaires, the Ages and Stages Questionnaire (ASQ), for children ages 0-65 months (approx. 5 years) and the Pediatric Symptoms Checklist for children 5-8 years
- Parent Tip Sheets with several topics that can be used at home
- Care coordination to ensure that you are successfully connected with appropriate community resources
- Follow-Up to confirm that you have received the best service possible
You know your child best. If you have any questions or concerns regarding the way your children act, play, move, or speak, please contact:
Help Me Grow Care Coordinator
Do you have a question about your child’s development, behavior, or learning?
Your Child’s Development
Skills such as standing up, scribbling, babbling, and pointing to body parts are called developmental milestones. Children reach milestones in how they play, learn, speak, behave, and move (crawling, walking, etc.). For an overview of age-appropriate developmental milestones, please see the chart included below. For a more detailed look at developmental milestones select the age appropriate image below.
Developmental Monitoring & Screening
Developmental monitoring, also known as developmental surveillance, involves the following key steps in order to assess how a child is growing in relationship to the age-appropriate expectations. Monitoring healthy development means paying attention to the child’s physical, mental, social, and emotional well-being.
- Eliciting parental concerns, such as by asking questions like “Do you have any questions about how your child is learning, behaving or developing?”
- Documenting and maintaining a developmental history, including information about the child’s holistic growth.
- Observing the child, in order to ensure their progress in developmental milestones in communication, cognitive processing, fine and gross motor skills, as well behavior.
- Identifying risks and protective factors, in order to address the family’s specific needs and circumstances.
- Maintaining an accurate record of findings over time, including input from others (schools, etc.).
A developmental screening is a short assessment to tell if a child is achieving these developmental milestones. Help Me Grow administers brief, validated, and standardized tools that aid in determining whether children are learning these basic skills when he or she should, or if there are delays.
Fewer than half of children with developmental delays are identified before starting school, by which time significant delays already might have occurred and opportunities for treatment might have been missed. Engaging in developmental surveillance and screening practices can help ensure children are making progress on critical skills and ensure they get the supports they need in order to achieve their best.