IT’S MIDNIGHT AND YOUR CHILD IS SLEEP WALKING AGAIN.
Instead of scouring through pages and blog posts from every corner of the internet, child behavior experts from across the nation have created a one- stop shop for vetted research and information for parents, teachers, and researchers.
The website, infoaboutkids.org, is the brainchild of a multidivisional group from the American Psychological Association, including Dr. Connie Fournier, clinical professor of special education.
“We started because there was so much bad information out there. Parents and the public are genuinely interested and want to know good information. We wanted to make sure there is some place parents can go to that is safe, vetted, and reliable,” explained Dr. Fournier.
The site is funded by a grant from the Committee on Divisional and APA Relations (CODAPAR) and was created by the Consortium for Science-Based Information on Children, Youth, and Families. After three years of research and vetting hundreds of websites, the group launched the site in March 2016.
The site is intended to provide scientifically-accepted information on healthy child development and the related risks and challenges on that development. It also highlights proven approaches to promote healthy development among children and families who are at risk for, or have, identified conditions.
Every site featured has been evaluated by at least two members of the advisory board to meet specific guidelines including accuracy, impartiality, and proficiency of science- or evidence-based information.
The website is updated quarterly to make sure all of the included sites are active and accessible. The creators also take recommendations from the public and add sites that have been vetted and meet the group’s guidelines.
“We were concerned with trying to find good information for parents and teachers, not just experts in the field,” she noted. “We know there are a lot of sites out there that are undecipherable to someone not in the field because of the technical language.”
The website focuses on healthy development in four areas: body, mind, emotion, and relationships. Links in the body section focus on health, physical development milestones, and common health conditions. The mind section focuses on the development of thinking, language, problem- solving, learning problems, and school-related topics. Users searching the emotions section can find information related to how children develop emotional well-being while the relationships section refers to how family and peer relationships develop at home, in schools, and in the community.
“The more you know, the more you can support good mental health practices and prevention and keep your kids healthy,” explained Dr. Fournier.