Reading on grade level by third grade is a significant predictor for high school success. Research shows that children born healthy and developing on track ensures the path for them to be proficient readers by third grade. School Readiness, therefore, starts as early as prenatal care. Based on the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, Dr. Conley, Professor at New York University, states “low birth weight, defined as less than 2,500 grams, or 5.5 pounds, has predictive power to alter the chance that a newborn will graduate high school on time. Low birth weight also makes it more likely that a baby later will be held back in school, be enrolled in special education or classified as learning disabled” (Population Reference Bureau). Low birth-weight babies are highly susceptible to neuro-developmental problems, behavioral problems and attention deficit disorder that can interfere with their learning and school success (2010 Kids County Report, p. 15-16).
One of the significant factors among the various developmental factors is vocabulary development (linguistic). According to a longitudinal study done by Betty Hart and Todd Risley, children from wealthier families by age 3 have heard 30 million more words than children from less-wealthy families. This readiness gap eventually becomes an achievement gap when children enter school.
Preventive health covers a wide range of services. United Way of Central Iowa specifically focuses its dollars on trauma informed preventive care for developmentally challenged young children, children in need of dental treatment so they can focus on education and services to first time mothers/teen mothers in need of proper prenatal care and parenting skills.
The targeted populations are children birth to 5, elementary school children, middle school children, teen mothers and first time mothers.in Polk, Dallas, and Warren counties.
By diagnosing and treating the said problems early from birth, children enter school ready to learn and achieve subsequent success in career and life.