Best Kept Secret: What You May Not Know About the Child Development Center
Natrona County is home to so many different organizations that exist to take care of the county’s children and adolescents. The Child Development Center is one of those organizations but oftentimes, those who could benefit from the services of CDC don’t even know what those services are.
The Child Development Center is, at its core, a place for children of all ages to grow, learn, and develop. It’s a preschool, but it isn’t just a preschool. It’s also not just for children with special needs.
“I think with our title, ‘Child Development Center,’ people just automatically relate it to having a special needs kiddo, and that’s just not true,’ said Alisha Rone, the Executive Director of CDC. “We serve all kiddos, regardless of their need. Even if they need just a little help in speech, or they want preschool services, or they need help with feeding, or a development screening, or anything else. It’s all encompassing here. Too often, I’ll hear people in the community say, ‘Oh, my child doesn’t need the Child Development Center,’ when, in fact, it’s like the best kept secret.”
That secret is slowly coming out, however, because CDC is constantly adding new programs and services for children of all different types of backgrounds.
“CDC isn’t just a preschool and CDC isn’t just for children with special needs,” Rone reiterated. “I think, all too often, parents see the center as one or the other, but it’s all encompassing; from pediatric audiology to providing OT and PT, to being an accredited preschool, to providing afterschool outpatient services, feeding therapy and more. It really is all encompassing.”
Rone said that CDC serves more than 700 children a week, through their preschool, development screenings, outpatient services, audiology services, and more. And an important element that is unique to the Child Development Center is that they don’t just provide those services in their own building – they also go out into the community, making home visits, school visits, and more.
Through the CDC+ program, the Child Development Center offers Occupational and Physical Therapy Services, Reading Coaching, Pediatric Nutrition Services, and Audiology Services – all of which are offered to children from birth to 21 years of age. Additionally, for children aged 0-5 years old, CDC offers free development screenings, which can show parents how their kiddos are developing with their hearing, their vision, their thinking and reasoning skills, their communication skills, and their physical movement skills.
“I think another misconception is when we ask parents if their child has had a developmental screening, automatically they’re like, ‘Well no, nothing is wrong with my kiddo,’” Rone said. “And it’s not that something’s wrong, it’s about seeing what they’re doing right. Parents can have their kiddo do a developmental screening to see if their child is meeting their developmental milestones.”
Rone said that, typically, when a child is born, they have their hearing and vision screening at the hospital, but then don’t get another screening until they enter kindergarten, meaning children could go 5 or more years without tracking their progress.
“At the CDC Developmental Screenings, we check for hearing and vision and, if something’s wrong, we have a pediatric audiologist here, the only one in the state, that we can use and make sure that everything is on track, or we can provide follow up,” Rone said.
The Child Development Center partnered with Wyoming Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI), WyCHAP, Wyoming Hands & Voices, and other programs across the state because they wanted to be able to have a follow up process for when a child fails their initial hearing test at the hospital. They wanted parents to be able to have a resource following that first test.
“People come from all over Wyoming – Jackson, Cheyenne, Gillette, and more – to meet with Dr. Kalley Ellis, AuD, CCC-A,” Rone shared. “We wanted to make these services available because there wasn’t a pediatric audiologist in the state. So now, on average, she sees about 30 kiddos per month with our Audiology Services.”
On average, the Child Development Center screens over 1200 children a year. They perform these screenings on-site, or they travel to preschools, daycares, even kiddos’ houses. This just demonstrates CDC’s passion for the children in their community…and their parents.
The Child Development Center is not just for kiddos with development issues; it’s for any child who wants or need a little extra care. It’s not to “find out what’s wrong,” it’s to highlight what is going right. There is no stigma attached to utilizing the services of the Child Development Center. It is a tool that is used by thousands of families, it’s a resource to the community, and it’s a solid foundation upon which children can build the rest of their lives.
The CDC’s preschool was just voted as the best preschool in Casper, and it’s easy to see why. Everyone, every single person who works for the Child Development Center does so because they care about the kiddos in this community. They want to help these kids learn, grow, and discover who they are, and who they will be.
“If parents need any type of support, whether it’s through CDC+, or reading coaching, or if their child has sensory needs or needs support with social or emotional help, if their child is showing any type of developmental delay, or they just want to get in touch with our great preschool – just call us,” Rone stated. “Our mission is to provide quality care with great outcomes for families in need. We’re here to support our community’s children and families, so just reach out to us. We would love to help in any way that we can.”
To find out more about the vast services of the Child Development Center, visit our website or call us at 307-235-5097.