Jazmine Blackman - Member of the Month

Jazmine Blackman

IDA honors Jazmine Blackman as our Member of the Month. Jazmine is co-chair of our social media committee and through her leadership and vision she has helped grow our social media presence and engagement. Read Jazmine’s story about how she became interested in early intervention, IDA and social media.

Early Intervention Runs in the Family
Jazmine shared that her mother was an early interventionist in the late 80s and she grew up watching her mom “play with babies.” As she got older Jazmine’s mom shared the stories of the infants and toddlers she worked with. Her mother went back to school and got her master’s in special education when Jazmine was ten years old and ran an early intervention program in the Los Angeles, San Gabriel, and Pomona areas of California. Jazmine originally wanted to be an attorney, however, she enjoyed working with infants and families so much that she decided to major in communicative disorders and minor in child development in college. During college she worked as a preschool teacher and an ABA therapist. Through her experiences working she saw the need that exists for more play based early intervention like she had observed all those years watching her mother. Jazmine took over her mother’s early intervention program, Carousel Developmental Service, about 6 years ago. Her goal is to make sure that early intervention reaches more families. She wants to help educate families what their needs are, and how to enjoy and play with their babies.

Public health and outcomes in low- income communities
Jazmine also started becoming interested in public health through her work with low-income families, especially black and Hispanic families. Jazmine realized she needed to spread that message that “these babies can thrive too.” She recognized that many people have written off babies in these communities, so she wanted to find a way to fill that need to spread the word about early intervention. Jazmine saw that many mothers didn’t know about early intervention, what milestones to look for and where to go for help. Statistics show that many black babies are born at low birth weight and premature, so they are at risk for not meeting their milestones. Jazmine went on for a Master’s in Public Health and facilitated classes for Riverside County Black Infant Health Program.

Introduction to IDA
Jazmine’s mom introduced her to IDA when Jazmine was looking for an organization to join to keep learning about early intervention. As Jazmine astutely pointed out, the early intervention field lacks formal training, so early intervention providers are left to learn more on their own and IDA fills that training need. Jazmine feels that IDA is unique compared to the many other professional organizations because we are specialized in early intervention. In addition, she enjoys the interdisciplinary aspect of IDA and the ability to collaborate with so many different disciplines and learn about the resources and techniques other practioners use.

Social media
Jazmine became interested in co-chairing the IDA social media committee when she saw that IDA did not have a large presence. As a millennial she looks for a lot of information on social media and knows that other millennials do as well. Since we live in a digital age our members and prospective members are all on-line. She sees social media as giving us a way to connect with other providers and parents. Jazmine feels that social media is the glue that allowed her to meet with so many different people and get critical information distributed rapidly. Social media has also helped with member recruitment and member engagement especially during the pandemic.

Long Term Goals for IDA social media
As co-chair of the IDA social media committee Jazmine shared her vision that IDA will have a major social media presence on all the major platforms, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. She would like to see IDA interact more frequently with the early intervention community and share evidenced based tools, as well as advocate for our providers and families. As Jazmine pointed out social media can create movements to start change and move the needle forward for a field like early intervention. Since IDA is a well-known and reputable organization, social media is a way for us to share what we are doing and share sound information since there is so much misinformation also on social media.

Navigating the different social media platforms
Jazmine shared the importance of participating on the many moving parts of social media to reach our diverse audience. She explained that since every platform has a different focus, we can use those platforms for the different missions of IDA. For example, LinkedIn allows for professional networking, and will help IDA link seasoned professionals with new professionals. Jazmine sees the Facebook platform as a good tool for sharing sound bites, events and fund raising whereas Instagram can be used to show what early intervention is in photos and videos. As people’s attention spans have gotten shorter, social media is able to utilize sound bites to draw a user in and then lead them to a longer article or to a subject matter expert. She sees Twitter as a great way to start conversations about early intervention and for reaching out to our local legislators because they are all on twitter.

State Interagency Coordinating Council (ICC) Community representative.

Jazmine’s passion for early intervention is very strong and she wanted to find a way to convey to other agencies how important early intervention is. The ICC provides advice and assistance to the Department of Disability Services (DDS) on California’s Early Start system and other services for children from birth to three years of age. Through her appointment to the ICC as a community representative Jazmine can convey information as well as continue her education on how the field has grown, what the problems are and what solutions are being sought. Jazmine sees her participation on the ICC to continue to help families get the information they need and educate other providers who don’t know much about early intervention. As Jazmine relayed, she sometimes comes across preschool programs that don’t know about early intervention or how to talk to parents when they see a learning delay or disorder. Jazmine feels that the more we can disseminate information about early intervention to this wider audience that will enable us to see more children and not miss the many children who still do not receive early intervention in California.

California Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (CAL LEND) – USC and Children’s Hospital LA.

Jazmine shared with IDA that she recently completed a year- long course as a CA-LEND public health fellow. The program jointly run through USC (University of California) and Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles, trains leaders and community providers on how to be more collaborative for children with neurodevelopmental disabilities such as those who are deaf and hard of hearing, have orthopedic disorders, rare genetic disorders, or autism.

Through case studies, leadership courses, and scenario-based learning, Jazmine learned how to help a family better, how to overcome barriers, how to navigate policy, and how to lead in each discipline. Jazmine worked with 50 different program participants from many disciplines including dentists, pediatricians, audiologists, speech, physical therapists, occupational therapists, family therapists and nurses; all shared how they intervene and why they do what they do. Jazmine shared that everyone can help a family better and collaborate better when you understand someone else’s role and why they make the decisions they make.

For her culminating leadership project Jazmine worked with Dr. Marie Poulsen as her advisor to write a policy brief on the importance of early identification and screening of children with autism. The brief explains why it is important to identify, screen and treat children at risk through early intervention services sooner. The brief lays out that if we can identify children with autism at an earlier age, we can mitigate the symptoms of autism. Once the policy brief is finalized the plan is to share it with regional centers, physicians, pediatricians, the ICC, and others. We will also be sharing it on the IDA website so stay tuned! IDA thanks Jazmine for the gift of her time and sharing her story and for all her work as co-chair of the social media committee.

Jazmine Blackman is the Owner/Director of Carousel Developmental Service, an infant development program serving the San Gabriel Pomona Valley and Inland Empire. Her goal is to see underserved families of infants and toddlers with special needs have the supports needed to thrive. In addition to working in home with infants and toddlers, Jazmine spends her time supporting the Infant Development Association of California as the Co-Chair of the Social Media Committee, Community Representative for the State Interagency Coordinating Council on Early Intervention, and with local organizations focused on educating black families about the Regional Center system and how poor maternal health outcomes impact baby’s long term.

She received her bachelor’s degree in Communicative Disorders with a minor in Child Development from California State University, Fullerton. Master’s in Public Administration and Public Health from the University of LaVerne. She is a Children’s Hospital Los Angeles/USC California Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (CA-LEND) Public Health Fellowship graduate.

She enjoys indoor cycling, hiking, traveling, and spending time with family and friends.

Favorite Quote: “Encouragement is oxygen for the soul. It takes very little effort to give, but the return in others is huge.” -John Maxwell