The Monumental Success of Developmental Screenings at Children’s Village

Though many services at Children’s Village are making a positive impact in the Yakima Valley, Universal Developmental Screening (UDS) is perhaps one of the best. The Village’s Medical Director Dr. Diane Liebe has taken a community-based approach in leading the best practice implementation developmental screenings. Today, many local clinics use developmental screening, which helps physicians diagnose children for referral into the Children’s Village Early Intervention (EI) Program.

Family Medicine of Yakima, instituted universal developmental screening for all children at their clinic, at 4, 9, 18 and 24 months in 2011. At first, Dr. Amanda Ryder, MD shared there were a lot of concern at their clinic over how to do this and not overwhelm medical assistants, providers and front desk staff. They anticipated frazzled parents and guardians juggling babies, siblings, diaper bags and insurance cards who would now be faced with a questionnaire to fill out (along with updating contact information and, in the case of new patients, our health history questionnaire.) But, according to Dr. Ryder, “We feel the process has gone quite smoothly, and parents in general seem to have a favorable opinion of the screening. It allows our providers to have a much more in-depth look at how a young patient is progressing. In short, universal screening at 4, 9, 18 and 24 months has added depth and richness to our well child checks, and has been very minimally disruptive to staff, providers, and parents”

With the assistance of Children’s Village Developmental Screening Coordinator Emily McPhee, Dr. Liebe has provided training since 2010. A total of nine medical practices, including 48 medical providers and seven Early Learning Centers (ELCs), were among those trained in UDS. By 2013, eight of the nine medical practices and all of the ELCs implemented UDS and completed screenings. As a result, EI referrals have increased 9.9 % from 2010 to 2014. Generally, referrals come from primary care providers, parents, and specialists, as well as ELCs and the Department of Children and Families. Eligibility rates for children referred into EI have also flourished, increasing from 71% in 2010 to 88% in 2014. This corresponds to a greater average number of children in EI by 38.6% during this time period.

These statistics reveal that developmental screening is working its magic. While developmental surveillance picks up 20-30% of children with developmental delays, developmental screening picks up 70-80% of them. It is important to know the difference between these two procedures. Developmental surveillance is the process of recognizing children who may be at risk of developmental delays. Meanwhile, developmental screening is the use of standardized tools to identify and refine that recognized risk. Standardized screening tools provide an objective method of measuring development at set time intervals or whenever a concern is present. One screening tool utilized is the Ages and Stages Questionnaire (ASQ). The ASQ is a screening system composed of 21 questionnaires designed to be completed by parents or other primary caregivers at any point for their child. The questionnaires detect a child’s strengths, challenges, and addresses family concerns. It can be used to build trust with families, and create teaching opportunities. The overall purpose of UDS and the ASQ though, is to distinguish children to whether they need further evaluation or not. Because of this, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends developmental screening at 9, 18, and 24/30 months. In other words, the sooner screening is done, the better.

Early identification is proven to lead to improved health outcomes in children. In fact, Dr. Liebe and Emily McPhee believe that every child deserves to enter kindergarten ready to learn. The use of developmental screening aids families, childcare providers, and medical providers in identifying developmental delays and links them with resources available in their community. More importantly, a screening tool is universal, for it serves everyone.

Recently, Dr. Liebe and Emily McPhee have done a study to understand the impact of a community-based approach to promote universal developmental screening on referral trends in early intervention. Dr. Liebe is receiving recognition both throughout the State of Washington and nationally for her desire to support UDS. For this reason, her abstract submission from the study has been accepted by the Society for Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics (SDBP), and Dr. Liebe will be presenting her research and findings at the SDBP 2015 Annual Meeting in The Tropicana Las Vegas this fall.

As the awareness and knowledge of universal developmental screening continues to spread, Children’s Village is paving the way in Washington State on how to identify, assess, and serve children with developmental delays.

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Buddy Walk at Children’s Village – Save the date!

October is Down Syndrome Awareness month and Children’s Village is going to be holding their first ever  “Buddy Walk”  October 17th from 10am – 12pm.  Buddy Walks are a national program of the National Down Syndrome Society to encourage the inclusion and acceptance of people with Down syndrome. There will be information and activity tables for families, including face painting, games and a fun walk around the block. For more information, contact Jessica DeBord, pediatric dentist at Children’s Village, at 509-574-3220,

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Yakima Symphony Orchestra to play a back-to-school concert at Children’s Village

Yakima Symphony at Children’s Village
Join us for a back to school concert!
4:00 pm
Thursday, August 27
Children’s Village Community Room

Yakima Symphony Conductor Lawrence Golan will perform a special mini-recital and visit with children, families, and community supporters of Children’s Village.
School supplies will be collected and distributed during the event for Village families, and a drawing will be held for a pair of season tickets to the Yakima Symphony Orchestra Classical Series.
If you have any questions or would like additional information, please contact MaryLynne Brewington at 509.574.3209 or

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Johnson Orchards and Yakima artists to raise funds for Children’s Village

On Saturday, August 29th local artists will set up shop among the trees at Johnson Orchards to raise money for Children’s Village.

All donations and 20% of sales go to support programs and services for children with special healthcare needs in our community.

Buy some art and support Children’s Village!

When: Saturday, August 29, 2015, 10am – 4pm

Where: Johnson Orchards, 4906 Summitview Avenue

For more information please contact Mary Lynne Brewington at 509-574-3257 or email at or

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My experience at Kid’s Club

Parents share their inspiring stories

“Eight-year-old David Miller couldn’t have been happier when he came to the summer kids club’s Kwik Lok Craft Day at Children’s Village on July 8. Having been in the kids club two years ago, David was glad to come back.

At the craft day, he and the other children glued plastic bread clips on a piece of paper. Each person used their clip as a head. Then, they drew outfitted stick figures to create their own characters. People also decorated water bottles. In those bottles, each kid added food coloring, glitter, and beads into the clear liquid. Other activities included hula-hooping, chalk drawing on the sidewalk, and eating popsicles.

Of all the things to explore at Kwik Lok Craft Day, a small fan caught David’s attention. David had borrowed it from one of the leaders; he had a hard time letting go of it. Although the young boy loves to interact with his peers at kids club, his mother Margaret says that he likes to wander and have his space as well.

David was diagnosed with autism right before his third birthday. By the time he was four, his loving and determined family seeked help from the Village. To achieve this, they joined the Holland and Parent to Parent support groups. There, Margaret shared the obstacles she faces  in raising a special needs child.

“When you reveal that to people outside of the special needs circle, they look at you like you are evil,” Margaret says. “Special needs parents just accept you as one of their own.”

David’s parents weren’t the only ones to find acceptance, for their son joined the One 2 One recreation program for special needs children. One 2 One allowed David to be himself without being judged. Meanwhile, he learned communication and social skills at the Village’s friendship classes. The summer kids club though, has given David the social outlet he needs. According to his mother, people can no longer tell that he has autism. David’s family does not have to think about a meltdown being triggered in public, especially when attending a holiday event.

This fall, David will be in third grade. But for now, the Miller family hopes to continue his involvement in both the Village and its summer kids club; the Kwik Lok Craft Day is just a start.”


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Register for the Yakima County Autism Symposium, August 11-12

This summer on August 11-12, the Yakima County Autism Symposium will be held at ESD-105 on 33 S. 2nd Ave. Lasting from 8:00 a.m.-3:30 p.m. each day, this event allows people to see autism from different perspectives (or new lenses as the slogan on the flier suggests). According to Children’s Village manager and autism coach Cindy Carroll, the symposium is a meeting of community members in Yakima to discuss concerns surrounding the development of programming for children with social-emotional, communication, and behavioral needs. Another purpose of the symposium is to support and educate others on the best practices for individuals with autism spectrum disorders.

Sessions will include various activities and demonstrations, as well as Tuesday afternoon field trips to Lynchpin Foundation and the Resource Fair at Children’s Village. Presenters will also bring insight and give hope to educators and families. Dr. Diane Liebe is the symposium’s Keynote Speaker. Currently, she is Medical Director and a Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrician at Children’s Village. Involved with many programs throughout Washington State, Dr. Liebe plans to talk about the Spectrum of Autism and have a Q&A session afterwards. Then, the Views from Our Shoes youth panel from Children’s Village are expected to reunite and share their firsthand experiences with autism. To assure that each person leaves with new information and techniques, the sessions will be repeated. Thus, no one should have to worry about missing a thing. Breakfast and lunch will be provided as well.

The Yakima Autism Community Symposium is sponsored by numerous organizations as listed:  Children’s Village, Lynchpin Foundation, Parent-to-Parent, Yakima Valley Farmworker’s Clinic, Catholic Family & Child Services, and Family Counseling and Autism Consulting.

If interested, please register for the symposium at Seating is limited so sign up ASAP.

For more information, contact:

Mary Winterfeld

(509) 454-5304

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A Journey to the Social World

My son Luis has been coming to Children’s Village for nearly nine years. He was nonverbal upon entering this facility. In fact, the only two words he knew were “Ma” and “Pa”.

Soon, Luis was diagnosed with autism. Children’s Village has helped him so much with therapy. Now, he is able to talk and carry a conversation with someone. But like anybody else, Luis has struggles. For instance, he is very shy and doesn’t like to go out in public. Even going to the grocery store feels like torture to him. So I brought him to last summer’s social skills camp.

This program encouraged my son to socialize and interact with people in the world. The camp also allowed him to play with the other children. I would like to thank the staff at Children’s Village for treating our family with respect. My husband and I do not speak English, but the Village still gave us the hospitality we needed. I am grateful for all that you do.

-Luis’s mom

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View from my shoes

By Ciara Hansen, Children’s Village intern

My name is Ciara Hansen, and I am a recent graduate of Naches Valley High School. In the past four years, I have been a reporter for Unleashed, a high school journalism program. Unleashed publishes teens’ stories, photos, and artwork in the Yakima Herald-Republic.  Being a member of this team has enhanced my writing and taught me new interviewing skills. This summer, I am interning at Children’s Village, where I will use these abilities to write articles for blogs and newsletters. I believe that my past experiences will also give me a unique advantage in telling the Village’s stories and developing a greater understanding of its families.

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At the age of three, I was diagnosed with autism; autism was something that people were just becoming aware of during this time. My parents did extensive research to help me overcome my challenges. Determined to work through the process with me, my family used holistic and traditional methods. My parents also made sure that I interacted with people and was introduced to my surroundings. Without language, I found it difficult to convey my emotions. It wasn’t until kindergarten when I learned to talk and finally began to explore the world around me. Even then, I still had room to grow.

My parents collaborated with teachers and paraprofessionals to help me both socially and academically. In school, I struggled with reading and math. Comprehending a story or set of instructions was one of my weaknesses. Years of tutoring and guidance from my family and teachers eventually led to academic improvement. As a result, special education and paraprofessionals were no longer required for me. Starting in fifth grade, I moved to general education. Since then, I became studious and driven. It was important for me to improve. This helped me succeed in middle and high school.

Socializing with others was another obstacle. Due to limited communication in primary school, I often felt out of place and judged by my classmates. I kept to myself at school and was quiet and shy. In the end, my fear of rejection had created a wall between me and my peers. By the time I was in high school, this had changed. Getting involved in extracurricular activities such as Unleashed, National Honor Society, and choir allowed me to meet people with common interests. My loved ones have also showed me that autism is a small part of who I am, not who I am entirely. In fact, autism has made me a stronger person and has given me the chance to develop my own perspective. Still, I have my struggles and personal insecurities, but I take it one day at a time.

In my sophomore year, I did a story for Unleashed about Children’s Village’s services and autism resources. As I interviewed Parent to Parent coordinator Tracie Hoppis, she asked me to talk about my autism experiences at the annual Views from My Shoes presentation. Giving hope to families of autism made me realize that there are people who accept me as I am. I also saw how my story could inspire others. Feeling empowered by the Village, I chose to do my senior project there by leading its November and March teen clubs. I was invited to speak at Views from My Shoes again this past spring. I was honored to return to the Views from My Shoes panel. I was also invited to the Yakima Autism Community Symposium at ESD-105 on August 11-12. I am looking forward to speaking at this event and sharing my experiences with the community.

I am also excited to attend Central Washington University this fall. At CWU, I intend to major in Elementary Education, and graduate with a Bachelor’s of Arts degree. Going to college will build my skills for my career, my independence, and ability to help others in the future.  I have always been passionate about working with children. Volunteering at Children’s Village has given me confidence in my leadership skills and ability to connect with others.

I can’t wait to give back through this wonderful internship.  Writing articles about the Village will help give it the credibility that it deserves in the Yakima Valley. Because the Village’s families supported me with my story through Views from My Shoes, I am privileged to support them by telling their stories.


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Save the date! Yakima County Autism Symposium – Aug. 11-12

Save the date! Yakima County Autism Symposium – Aug. 11-12

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