Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Pediatricians and Early Learning for Latino Kids

So, I have a story idea I’m never going to get around to, and I’d like to give it away here. I’ve had the opportunity to talk with the folks from Reach out and Read, who put books in pediatricians’ offices, encourage the doctors to get them in families’ hands, who then tell parents how to use the books as developmental screening tools for very young children. This program has seen a lot of success.

On that note, I had an experience that led me to wonder what local pediatricians serving the Latino community are doing to help parents provide the best environments for their children’s learning and development. A few months ago, my son and I were at our next-door neighbors’ house, where their not-quite-two-year-old was crashed out in the bedroom with a bottle watching “Arthur.” No big deal, right? But I know the family, and they are the sort that probably wouldn’t have let the little one watch TV if the parents knew about the American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommendation that children under two not watch television at all.

So I said something to my neighbor. Gently. As gracefully as I could. Don’t remember my exact wording, but it was something like, “You know, doctors say it’s not a good idea for children under two to watch any TV.” My neighbor was horrified that she didn’t know that. And that’s when I started wondering what our local docs are saying (or not).

If I had the time, I would look up some pediatricians on the main drags in Chicago’s Latino neighborhoods–18th Street in Pilsen, 47th Street in Back of the Yards, 26th Street in Little Village, and ask them what, if anything, they tell parents about TV. Better yet, I’d go by their offices and talk with moms coming out about what the doctor told them, then call.

If anybody does this, or something like it, please comment and put up your link!