The LEAPS Project, supported by the Children’s and Families Commission of Orange County and Newport Mesa Unified School District, recently launched its You Make the Difference program. The program is designed to support parents of typically developing children, birth to five years old who would like to learn more about fostering and enriching their child’s early language, social and literacy development. It also provides support to vulnerable families whose children’s learning may be at risk due to environmental or societal challenges. For those parents who have limited communication skills or who may feel isolated and have limited social networks, You Make the Difference helps parents connect with other families and resources in their community.
You Make the Difference recognizes the important role that parents play in their child’s early learning and development, builds confidence in their ability to help their child learn, builds individual skills and confidence in reaching out and connecting with their community, and increases their awareness of any developmental needs. In addition, it includes the collection of language samples, completion of developmental screening tools and other supporting documentation that has proven to be very helpful when children are referred on for further assessment by the Regional Center of Orange County or the school district. The results are already evident: preschool teachers have noted improvement in language skills in the classroom.