photo of Kathy Mckay

Kathy brings a great deal of experience and expertise to her work of spreading the Learn The Signs, Act Early message in Minnesota through Help Me Grow. She began her career working as an elementary teacher for 2nd and 4th graders. She enjoyed working with the younger ages so she decided to focus on Early Childhood and Special Education. She enjoyed working with younger children and states how fascinating early childhood development is and it can feel “like the most important job ever” as we track children’s development and witness how they are discovering the world. At the time of pursuing her education, she became a parent and was “doubly interested in childhood development.”

Kathy currently works as a Child Find/Public Awareness Coordinator hired by the Region 11 Help Me Grow Interagency Early Intervention Committee.   She is officed with the Metro ECSU in Arden Hills, Minnesota. Kathy’s day to day activities include helping with the Help Me Grow initiative, handling requests for resources, redesigning resources to make them as user-friendly as possible and making presentations to professionals about early screening and early intervention. During her presentations, she both shares and shows samples of the resources. She also often participates in various events such as conferences for professionals, and resource fairs for parents with young children and their families.

She has found that providing free materials from Help Me Grow and also CDC’s Learn the Signs, Act Early greatly aid in helping parents track their child’s development. In addition, she suggests websites and social media resources for additional child development information. The Help Me Grow Facebook page has over 17,000 likes! Much of her work is meeting with professionals to help them understand the system. For children ages 3-5, it is important to take into consideration things like the school schedule and the fact that parents may have to wait if a referral is done during or near summer vacation.

One of the ways Learn the Signs, Act Early has partnered with Help Me Grow is helping to distribute the Amazing Me, It’s Busy Being Three books which are a fun way for parents to track their child’s development alongside their child. These books are free and can be found here http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/actearly/amazingme.html . This book is also available in Spanish. http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/spanish/actearly/index.html .  Help Me Grow has also been able to make use of the “Track your Child’s Developmental Milestones” http://stacks.cdc.gov/view/cdc/23400 which is available in English, Hmong, Somali, and Spanish.

Kathy knows very well the benefits of receiving special education programming and supports at an early age from her experiences of being an Early Childhood Special Education teacher and a Special Education administrator. The motto is “the earlier, the better.”   She says “I feel very strongly that the more parents (and professionals) are empowered with the knowledge of how very young children will and should develop, the more likely that if there are concerns, they will know how and who to connect with for support and assistance.”  Thank you, Kathy, for spreading the message and all that you do with Help Me Grow MN! We are so grateful to partner with her and for her awesome work!