New Innovative Early Language and Literacy Program in South Carolina

NOTE: May is Better Hearing and Speech Month

Family Connection of South Carolina

By Amy Holbert, chief executive officer of Family Connection of South Carolina

Family Connection of South Carolina is pleased to join the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) and the American Speech Language and Hearing Association in celebrating Better Hearing and Speech Month.

Family Connection of South Carolina is excited to announce a new communication tool launched earlier this month in the spirit of this year’s theme, “Communication at Work!”

Family Connection of South Carolina—in partnership with the South Carolina Department of Education—launched a family-centered, early language and literacy communication service for parents of preschoolers.

“Text2Read” (T2R) is a free mobile-based program offering practical information about child development and low-cost language and literacy activities for young children. The service is a confidential, easy-to-use resource for parents to help prepare their child for kindergarten and to become ready to read.

Parents receive a weekly T2R text message, which includes fun, everyday activities for parents to do with their child to support their child’s language and literacy development.

T2R can also help parents identify developmental milestones including speech and hearing. If a parent is concerned about their child’s development, an Ages and Stages Questionnaire (ASQ) will be sent to them via text. An early childhood specialist from Family Connection of South Carolina receives completed ASQs and follows up with families.

“This program is aimed to improve reading ability, comprehension and language skills of young learners and promote interaction between parent and child,” said Jenny May, South Carolina’s 619 Preschool Coordinator who designed the Text2Read program. “The text messages and included activities are written so young children will have language and literacy experiences to support a smooth transition to kindergarten. The messages also align with our state’s early learning standards and have been reviewed by parents to ensure family-friendly language.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic presented us with such a unique time in which to introduce this wonderful communication tool to parents and the community,” explains Rebecca Davis, Office of Special Education Services director. “The ‘new normal’ just drives home how very essential early language, literacy, and communication are to our children and families.”

About Family Connection of South Carolina

Family Connection of South Carolina is South Carolina’s OSEP-funded parent training and information center (PTI).

For 30 years, Family Connection of South Carolina has been changing lives by making connections, raising awareness, and promoting inclusion for those with disabilities and healthcare needs. We offer programs and services to ensure that parents, professionals, and caregivers have access to available resources to help their children reach their full potential. Our work focuses on five key areas: parent support, healthcare, education, training, and advocacy.

We offer workshops, trainings, and parent-to-parent support to connect families in South Carolina with services to support their child, including resources for speech and hearing impairments.

Family Connection of South Carolina has professionals on staff who are parents of children with hearing and speech delays and can provide support to other parents through resource linkage, reviewing and attending individualized family service plan meetings, individualized education program meetings and 504 plan meetings, using the Parent-to-Parent model of shared similar experience.

Amy Holbert, LISW-CP, MSW is the chief executive officer of Family Connection of South Carolina. She is the mother of two young adults with disabilities and chronic health conditions, and “bonus mom” to three other wonderful children.

Blog articles provide insights on the activities of schools, programs, grantees, and other education stakeholders to promote continuing discussion of educational innovation and reform. Articles do not endorse any educational product, service, curriculum or pedagogy.

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