Health Literacy: A Prescription For Healthy Kids

Written by Amanda Cote

On January 30, 2013

We hope everyone is starting 2013 on the right foot in terms of living a healthy lifestyle. This year promises many wonderful things as Charleston Promise Neighborhood (CPN) Health Literacy Sessions are in full swing.

Pam Willrodt

Pam Willrodt, Charleston Promise Neighborhood’s Health Literacy Specialist

AmeriCorps*VISTA volunteer and CPN Health Literacy Specialist, Pam Willrodt, held two successful Health Literacy Sessions this past month. The first session informed parents and caregivers of what ADHD is and how it manifests in children. In her second session, she introduced ways to use “What To Do When Your Child Gets Sick”, a medical resource book of management strategies for childhood illnesses. Willrodt’s contribution of subject matter expertise and guidance was truly impressive and beneficial. Her information generated dialogue between parents and caregivers. With over ten years of experience working with parents and children, along with her adept interpersonal skills, Willrodt connected with the parents in the room. Everyone who attended the sessions left better-informed and confident.

The ADHD Health Literacy Session educated parents and encouraged them to view the disorder through their child’s perspective. A quote from the research of Children’s Accounts of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder illustrates how children internalize their ADHD diagnosis: “I get frustrated in school. I get frustrated at things. When I get home I get frustrated with people and stuff. I see my friends who are at the speed of everyone else, and I’m not. I get sad.” Willrodt stressed that understanding thoughts and emotions of children with ADHD builds better communication between the parent and child. She has her own experiences raising a child with ADHD, and shares those lessons with parents who are dealing with the power struggles, tantrums, low self-esteem, and school problems that often come with the disorder.

The second session was guided by the book, “What To Do When Your Child Gets Sick”, the most popular of the “What To Do For Health” series, written by two nurses, Gloria Mayer and Ann Kuklierus. “The book is wonderful, instructional, easy to use, and VERY informative!” said Frederica Ladson, Parent, grandparent, and AmeriCorps Family Navigator at Sanders-Clyde Creative Arts School. The book is the basis of the session, covering injuries and health problems associated with children from birth to eight. The book was given to all who attended the session.

Through CPN Health Literacy Sessions, we are improving our families’ access to health knowledge, and helping our parents develop understanding, confidence, and motivation to improve their family’s health. We are creating awareness of health issues in the Neighborhood to decrease child sick days, increase parent work days, and decrease emergency room and clinic visits. As we move forward, CPN is excited about future Health Literacy Sessions.