Preschool to university real quick

This morning, we visited the Ladywood Family Center. It was interesting to see the perspective and role of a community center because I am not familiar with any in the US. At this center, they focus on caring for the child, but also empowering and educating the family. They try to support the whole family, offering family support sessions including housing support and advice, benefits support and advice, financial capability, parenting support and advice, home visits, etc. The employees explained how going out into the home helps them build better relationships with the families. By doing this, they can see the child’s environment to better understand what the child and family are going through. Furthermore, this center offers stay and play sessions where parents can come in and play with their children. I found this is interesting because I never thought about the fact that some parents don’t know how to play with and talk to their children. I always just assumed that this comes naturally to parents. The employees help teach the parents how to play with their children. They also teach them how to set boundaries and a routine for their child. Furthermore, this center helps to educate families on the benefits they’re entitled to. One of the main reasons why people do not take advantage of government benefits is because they are not educated about them, so this is very important.

I also found the idea of the healthy eating sessions to be unique and beneficial. The school hosts events for the families to come in and learn about healthy eating. The parents learn a recipe and actually have the chance to make it in the school kitchen. The school provides the ingredients and helps teach the parents how to cook in order to build their confidence and knowledge. I think this is so important because not being properly fed can have a bigger impact on a child than parents might be aware of. Also, there are so many easy, cheap healthy food options that parents just have to be educated about. I think we could really use more community centers in the states. It is so important that parents are talking to and playing with their children to help build their vocabulary, fine motor skills, communication skills, etc. It is important to recognize how important early education is because if children go in with limited vocabulary, educators will set low expectations for them, and they will never be pushed out of their comfort zone and into high level classes.

Following this visit, we went to BCU for a lecture about learning disabilities and social work. I really enjoyed this. I found it interesting to hear the perspective of Sally, who has two children with autism spectrum disorder. However, autism looks completely different on these two children. I think this shows how learning disabilities can look different on everyone, and it is important to recognize and make accommodations for everyone even though they might not even be visible in some cases. The lecturers explained the importance of making sure people with disabilities have a voice in the policies. They used the quote “nothing about us without us.” This explained the importance of making sure that their voice is being heard in the policies. Also, it should not be that the people making the policies are hearing the voice, but people with disabilities should be a part of the voice itself.

I found it surprising that there are no social workers in schools in the UK. I also learned that there are not always social workers in schools in the US. Since there were social workers in my school system, I thought that was consistent throughout the US. I think it is so important to implement social work into the school because seeing these children everyday, it makes it easier to spot issues early on and prevent them from escalating. This relates to all the other aspects of healthcare where we talk about giving people access to screenings because if you diagnose early, the prognosis will be better. It was also interesting to hear that they don’t have counselors in schools in the UK. I know in my middle school and high school the counselors played a big role in dealing with children who had mental health issues, problems at home, and helping kids apply to college. I think it is important to have these resources at school to offer help in other aspects of life because students are not going to perform their best in school if they are struggling in these other aspects.

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