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What is Babies Count?
Data might seem like a boring word, but it’s vitally important to the future of our children. It can influence policy and budget decisions, expand programs, and even drive medial and educational research. Data can also help APH as we learn more about the young people we are making products for. Read below to learn from Dorinda Rife as she explains the importance of Babies Count.
Emma is a 2-year old with 2-year old interests. She loves spending time with her family and exploring in her backyard. She also receives services from the New Mexico School for the Blind and Visually Impaired. Information about Emma is one example of more than 2,000 children whose visual impairment and services are documented anonymously in the Babies Count National Registry.
The Babies Count Registry provides a vehicle for individual states to collect and analyze demographic and etiological information about children ages 0-3 who have a visual impairment. It yields a comprehensive set of information about the type of visual impairment, age of onset, make-up of a child’s educational team and more. Each state is represented by one coordinator in one agency or organization, and other service providing entities sign up under that agency.
Data is collected through parent interview and records review, and information is kept anonymous through the assignment of a number for each questionnaire. It is recommended that a direct service provider with educational background in visual impairment and early childhood conduct the interview.
States have direct access to their data in real time, allowing them to aggregate by category, in order to better understand and quantify the people they are serving. In turn, Babies Count as a whole serves as a demographic tool useful in identifying population characteristics and future needs.
Why take the survey about Babies Count?
It is only through the collective efforts of every state that we will be able to fulfill the goals of the Babies Count National Registry. Not only does the data from Babies Count help us to understand trends in visual impairment and accompanying disabilities; it also informs and supports teacher training programs, product developers, medical personnel, and legislators to ensure that services to this population of individuals are both relevant and of high quality.
Currently 16 states enter data into the Babies Count National Registry. While the data they provide is rich, we need more states to participate in this important project. The reason is simple: the more data we collect, the better informed we are to support all people who are blind or visually impaired.
Because each state provides early intervention services differently, we need your help to connect with the right people in those states and territories not collecting and submitting data to Babies Count.
Learn more by visiting the Babies Count Website.