Child Find program offers help to struggling students

West River Student Services is seeking to raise awareness of resources available to pupils who've fallen behind academically.

School stock photo
Stock photo.
tiero/Getty Images/iStockphoto
We are part of The Trust Project.

DICKINSON — Every child is unique in their abilities, family heritage and potential to grow. But some infants and children face unique challenges in getting a proper start in life.

The West River Student Services Unit and area school districts have designated the week of November 14, 2022, as Child Find Week in their communities. Child Find was established through the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act to help identify infants and children with delays in growth and development who may need supports and/or services.

It's important for parents to keep track of their child's growth and development. Not all children do the same things at the same ages, but there are general guidelines. Sometimes parents are too close to their own children to notice delays. A friendly comment from a neighbor or relative may help them take the first steps toward getting help.

If you are concerned that your child isn't developing as quickly or doing the same things as others their age, contact your local school principal or West River Student Services at 701-483-1257 ext. 4. A selective screening may be scheduled to help determine whether a delay is present. If so, special activities or services may be available to accelerate your child's growth, development and learning.

Most people utilize reading and math skills in myriad ways throughout the day, often without even realizing it. Such deficiencies correlates with lower income, lesser health and generally lower levels of satisfaction.


A Gallup analysis in 2020 found that approximately 54% of American adults read below a sixth grade level. Another study published in 2020 by the federal Institute of Education Sciences found 30% lack the "sufficient numeracy skills to make calculations with whole numbers and percentages, estimate numbers or quantity and interpret simple statistics in text or tables."

Some students fall behind in a given subject and feel too ashamed to tell anyone, so their lack of progress only compounds. In 2005 Stanley Cup winning NHL Coach Jacques Demers revealed his functional illiteracy in an autobiography. Demers grew up in an abusive home with an alcoholic father. After a lifetime of concealing his struggle, he said he hoped to inspire courage in others to seek the help they need. He went on to serve as a Senator in Canadian Parliament, representing Quebec from 2009 to 2019.

Jason O’Day is a University of Iowa graduate, with Bachelor’s Degrees in Journalism and Political Science. Before moving to Dickinson in September of 2021, he was a general news reporter at the Creston News Advertiser in rural southwest Iowa. He was born and raised in Davenport, Iowa. With a passion for the outdoors and his Catholic faith, he’s loving life on the Western Edge.
What to read next
Three passengers were transported to a hospital with minor injuries.
The Killdeer Safety Patrol and Dunn County Sheriff's Office teamed up to buy Christmas gifts for less fortunate children.
The Dickinson Police Department announced that Southwest Narcotics Task Force agents have discovered methamphetamine that is being laced with an opioid, possibly fentanyl. A recent string of narcotic overdoses in the Dickinson area has prompted the police to issue a public advisory on the outbreak.
The university said they remain committed to valuing high-performing high school, transfer and non-traditional students and providing a litany of financial opportunities and student resources to reduce burdens.