A Parent’s Perspective: Learn the Signs. Act Early.

Act Early logo

November 18, 2020

The Rural Institute (RI) is working with the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) to support early identification of development delays in children, ages 0-5, using the Learn the Signs. Act Early. (LTSAE) health education program. We are featuring guest blog posts written by Montana State University Nursing students that promote the Learn the Signs. Act Early program.


My name is Katherine Jones. I am an MSU Nursing student working alongside local LTSAE ambassadors, stakeholders and fellow nursing students Nate Goodwin and Logan Robinson. We have teamed up with the Rural Institute with the goal raising awareness of LTSAE in our community as well as throughout Montana.

I am personally honored to be a part of this effort because my family has been directly impacted by programs just like this. My daughter was born prematurely at 24 weeks. After many months in the hospital, we returned home as young first-time parents to a rural town. I was so grateful to have the support and reassurance from a wonderful public health nurse who came to our home and taught us how to promote our daughter’s healthy development through games, daily activities and books.

The information and resources available to families now is amazing; things such as the Milestones tracker app provides such a wonderful opportunity for families to really engage in their children’s development. The videos available on the app are perfect tools to help families see in real time what their children should be doing at each development milestone.

Our family benefited greatly from the support and guidance we received from public health nurses and rural outreach programs. Because of their devotion and commitment to providing continued and just care to my daughter and our family, today we have a bright, beautiful 12-year-old who excels in school and life!

LTSAE has fun, interactive, and free materials that parents, educators and caregivers can use to track a child’s developmental milestones and document concerns to share with a primary care physician. As a nursing student, it was great to work on this project, sharing resources that parents like me can use to support their children.

To learn more, visit the Montana Learn the signs. Act Early. website.