Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Avima Lombard Award Nominations

Avima Lombard, 1926-2008

The Avima D. Lombard Award honors a HIPPY staff person at a local, state, or national program office in the United States whose professional services have made a significant contribution to HIPPY and to improving the lives of young children and their families. The awardees embody Avima's proactive, risk taking and determined approach to work. They have been involved with the HIPPY program in the United States, and continue to support the mission of HIPPY USA.

What is Avima's legacy? Well, after graduating from Cornell University she got her master's degree at Columbia Teacher's College, and then on to UCLA for her PhD. This same dedication to education is found in all of our HIPPY home visitors who balance home, work and college and are taking classes at local universities and community colleges. Once Avima finished her PhD, she served as a professor of Early Childhood Education at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and as the Director of Early Childhood Research and Projects for the National Council of Jewish Women Research Institute for Innovation in Education - quite the mouthful! This same dedication to research and practice is found in the countless evaluators and researchers who work hard to assess the efficacy of the HIPPY program model, and the hundreds of HIPPY Coordinators and Administrators who work tirelessly to implement the program model in communities across the US and the world.

The Avmina D. Lombard Award will be presented at the HIPPY USA National Conference. The deadline for submissions is January 13, 2012 - consider nominating someone who is carrying on Avima's legacy. For more information, check the HIPPY USA website.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

HIPPY Model "approved"

HIPPY was one of only seven home visiting models that meet the research based criteria for inclusion in Federal funding through the Maternal, Infant, Early Childhood Home Visiting program, MIECHV. In Texas, this means that 7 communities will be implementing HIPPY as well as other approved Home Visiting programs. The Texas Department of Health and Human Services submitted a state plan to provide home visiting services to 7 counties in Texas. Community meetings were held to roll out the opportunity, in the following communities: Dallas, Longview, Jacksonville, Odessa, Amarillo, McAllen and Corpus Christi. HIPPY was a match for each of these communities based on their demonstrated need for home visiting and school readiness. The request for proposals is due to come out soon, and each community has been asked to consider submitting a coordinated response. Home visiting programs HIPPY, Parents as Teachers and Nurse Family Partnership will be co-hosting weekly phone calls to provide communities with information about the program models and how a community can coordinate services through this funding. Very exciting and busy times are ahead as HIPPY and other home visiting programs move forward with adding program sites!

If you are from one of these communities and would like more information, please check out our Texas Home Visiting Blog: http://txhv.blogspot.com/, or contact me, carla.weir@unt.edu.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

When is it time to take away the pacifier?

(photo credit

Dentists say that the pacifier can damage a child's bite. Pediatricians tell us that most children stop using a pacifier on their own between ages 2 and 4. Some research has even shown that pacifiers may reduce the incidence of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or SIDS - which is dramatically reduced by 6 months regardless of pacifier use. That may be the best time to remove the pacifier for good (any benefit from it has already been gained and detriment to dental health can be avoided). For many parents though, myself included, the pacifier is a self soothing tool that becomes their child's habit into the toddler and early preschool years.

I remember struggling with this question myself. My younger daughter (now a college freshman!!!) was a pacifier baby. I was really worried about weaning her from it so I came up with a plan to make it happen before she entered Pre-K. That summer, we spent a lot of time planning for school, including planning to give up the pacifier. I asked her if she had noticed any of the children in her sister's Kindergarten class using a pacifier. We talked a lot about how it would be without the pacifier and tried to practice sleeping without it. With our big day approaching we were all a little nervous. Fortunately, her sister was only two grades above her and she was going to the same school. Her first day went smoothly and that night as I was tucking her in, she knew that it would be without her pacifier. With big tears in her eyes she said, "it's ok Mama, I'll always have my thumb" and popped that thumb in her mouth! I didn't know whether to laugh or cry...she was struggling to make that sacrifice, and yet her little problem solving genious created a new problem!!! It wasn't until several years later that she gave up the thumb! The good thing was that she knew (from all our conversations about the pacifier) that she couldn't suck her thumb at school. So, when is it time to take away the pacifier?

Undoubtably a pacifier can interfere with a child's ability to speak. For that reason, I believe it's very important to begin weaning a child from a pacifier, at least during waking hours, early on. Giving a child the opportunity to speak is key to their language development and social development. This will have a great impact on their school readiness and their social interactions. The HIPPY program provides parents with daily activities to engage their children in school readiness skills. We encourage and inform parents how to read stories, play games, sing songs, count and so many other fun readiness activities. And, we help parents with questions they may have such as "when is it time to take away the pacifier?"  Many times there's no "one way" to answer, but having someone to have this conversation with is a great resource!