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MNAAP Newsletter

Leading and Supporting Child Health Issues

By Robert M. Jacobson, president of MNAAP…

I hope you take the time to read the front-page article about the destructive changes that have occurred to Minnesota’s newborn screening program. It’s the leading issue for our chapter this year in terms of advocacy. It rose to the top for three reasons: a clock-ticking sense of urgency, the large number of children who will be impacted, and the lack of other organizations willing to take the lead.

Occasionally our colleagues ask why we aren’t focusing more attention to injury prevention, gun control, child sex trafficking, responsible sex education, or other hot-button issues. My response is that we are careful to prioritize which efforts we best lead and which efforts we join coalitions our fellow pediatric advocates’ best lead. We only have so many resources. We have limited lobbying time, consultant support, and volunteer person-power. Last legislative season we pursued legislation related to anti-bullying, early brain development, newborn screening, and access to care. We have work groups and committees that drive each of those efforts.

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Learning Disorders: Identification and Eligibility of Services

By Amanda Hyatt Fields, PhD, LP, pediatric neuropsychologist at Park Nicollet…

Identifying learning disabilities and determining eligibility for special services can be both confusing and frustrating. The reason, in part, may be attributed to differences between school and medical definitions of what constitutes a learning disorder.  To identify a student as learning disordered in the schools, the child must meet specific criteria for a specific disability as outlined by the federal government in IDEIA 2004, whereas the medical model focuses on statistical differences using a variety of different measures.

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Child Life Specialists: What Role Can They Play in Pediatric Clinics?

By Charles Archer, MNAAP writer…

Affirmed as “an essential component of quality pediatric care” by AAP, child life specialists have become standard in most pediatric hospitals, providing non-medical preparation and support for children undergoing tests, surgeries and other medical procedures.

But they are also finding a role in some pediatric clinics. Using play and psychological preparation as primary tools, they can offer extra support both to the family and the physician team.

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Providing Care for LGBTQ Youth

By Tom Scott, MD, FAAP, Interim Director, Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics Residency Program, U of M…

Suddenly in Minnesota marriage can be in the future for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning (LGBTQ) young people! Just over a year ago MNAAP was strongly opposing a constitutional amendment that would have precluded this possibility. And now, LGBTQ youth can see role models of committed people in same-sex relationships who love each other and are marrying. They will know that they can find a life partner and that their relationships will be supported by society just as the opposite-sex relationships of their peers are.

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Early Childhood Policy and Resources Update

By Laurel Wills, MD, pediatrician at Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare…

Trying to address questions or challenges with your patients and their caregivers during their prenatal and early childhood years?

The following are resource links that we hope you will find useful in providing care and guidance in a clinical setting.

Help Me Grow

is our statewide portal for mobilizing early intervention services AND for parent information about child development.  Access Help Me Grow or make referrals for EI evaluation and treatment services at or 1-866-693-GROW (4769).

Child Care Aware of Minnesota

Formerly known as the Child Care Resource and Referral network (CCR&R), Child Care Aware provides information for families seeking services, as well as approved professional training opportunities for child care providers.  MNAAP is involved in disseminating a curriculum for child care providers and early learning centers (e.g. Head Start) on medication administration in child care settings.  Go to for more information (Spanish, Hmong, and Somali translations available on this website).  For more specific information on Health and Safety regulations for Child Care in MN, visit

Parent Aware

is Minnesota’s quality rating and information system for child care and early learning centers. This is a voluntary program, with quality coaches available through the state program. Developmentally appropriate curriculum, care environment, as well as health and safety parameters are included in the rating criteria. A free search tool and service for parents and other providers at 1-888-291-9811 or Parent Aware ratings are available in several counties at present and will be available statewide by 2015.


is a joint advocacy effort, endorsed by MNAAP, to secure public and private  investment in high quality child care and early learning environments for all young children.  See:

Reach Out and Read-Minnesota

is pleased to announce that our National ROR organization was just awarded the prestigious David M. Rubenstein Prize for Literacy by the U.S. Library of Congress!  Thank you to all of our 125 Minnesota clinics and pediatric providers who make Reach Out and Read happen for over 70,000 young children in our state.  We still have much work to do to sustain and expand our current efforts to reach still more children and families who could benefit from early parent-child literacy promotion.  Read more about the ROR model and research findings at and see Minnesota ROR “in action” by accessing video clips on YouTube (search Reach Out and Read Minnesota).

Please email or call with questions or input, and consider joining our Early Childhood Interest Group:  or  651-600-0901

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