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Partner Spotlight

Partner Spotlight: Barbara Tames, Campaign Champion
Special Education Teacher, Virginia Public Schools

Barbara and students from her class“Identifying early warning signs is paramount for supporting children with developmental delays, and nothing is more important than children receiving early intervention,” said Barbara Tames, a special education teacher of nearly 25 years.

Barbara sees the importance of early intervention every day in her work with children diagnosed with autism and other developmental delays; therefore, she strives to increase awareness of developmental milestones and early intervention throughout her community.

As a teacher, Barbara is always looking for new tools and opportunities to educate the teachers and parents of her local community in Virginia. Last spring, Barbara attended the Virginia Institute of Autism Conference and discovered the “Learn the Signs. Act Early.” campaign.

Drawn to the early intervention messages, Barbara believes the campaign speaks directly to early childhood educators.

“As an educator, you see the positive results of early intervention every day. We have the opportunity to work with amazing children with such potential. We help them become a part of the world, and it’s astonishing to see how a child can grow with therapy and support.”

Barbara has seen the difference early intervention has made with her students and now works to raise awareness among parents, teachers, and physicians.

She explains that she believes her community lacks general child development awareness, and all parents would benefit from knowing the specific milestones and early warning signs of a potential delay.

Barbara Tames“Parents understand the importance of physical milestones, but they aren’t as aware of social and language milestones. It’s important to know all of the milestones your child should be reaching,” said Barbara.

Barbara and colleagues Jeanne Bennett and Kathleen Sloan have worked to blanket their county with “Learn the Signs. Act Early.” materials and information.

“Every local physician has the campaign materials, and the fact sheets have been placed at parent help desks in county schools,” said Barbara. She has also distributed materials at women’s clubs in the area.

Recently, Barbara and her colleagues also hosted a workshop where they shared the campaign champion presentation (available online), public service announcements, and materials with principals, elementary and preschool teachers, speech therapists, and special educators in the area.

Thrilled with the positive results of outreach, Barbara now looks to target preschools, Parent Teacher Association (PTA) programs, churches, and local civic groups with “Learn the Signs. Act Early.” materials. Her goal is to touch every parent in her community with the important message of early intervention.

“A parent knows a child’s needs better than anyone else. Parents that have a concern should know that early intervention programs and services are out there for them if they suspect a developmental delay,” Barbara explained.

For more information on how you can reach out to health professionals in your area, visit the How to Get Involved page of the “Learn the Signs. Act Early.” website.

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