In learning important life-lessons, reality is the best teacher. The most effective way for adolescents to learn about the demands and consequences of parenting is first-hand experience. Once parenting becomes a reality, teens are able to refer back to the experience when faced with life-changing decisions.
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In learning important life-lessons, reality is the best teacher. The most effective way for adolescents to learn about the demands and consequences of parenting is first-hand experience. Once parenting becomes a reality, teens are able to refer back to the experience when faced with life-changing decisions. Realityworks’ computerized infant simulators give teens the most realistic infant care experience possible and a comprehensive parenting curriculum enhances the lesson with its supporting facts and activities.
Reality: One teenager becomes pregnant every minute.[i]
In 2004, over 420,000 babies were born to teenage mothers in the U.S. alone.[ii] These startling statistics give light to an ongoing challenge, because teen pregnancy affects not only adolescents and their families, but also society as a whole.
Another problem associated with teen pregnancy is the increased frequency of child abuse. Children of adolescent mothers are twice as likely to be abused as those born to 20 or 21 year olds. These problems can arise when adolescents never learn parenting and proper infant care skills.
Adolescents who are not adequately informed about the realities of pregnancy and parenting are more inclined to have an attitude of “it won’t happen to me.” In order to change a teen’s attitude toward early parenthood it is essential for them to internalize the profound impact it could have on their lives.
Programs are offered through schools, social service organizations, healthcare settings and more. Research has shown that programs with realistic infant simulators have a significant, positive effect on participants as compared to programs that use curriculum alone.
Realityworks Inc. is the creator of the original, award-winning Baby Think It Over® infant simulator, the first realistic substitute for the eggs and flour sacks used to teach parenting skills.
In 1993, Rick and Mary Jurmain were watching a news program and saw that California schools were using eggs and sacks of flour to teach infant care. Rick remarked to Mary that these seemed like poor substitutes for a real baby because there was no crying or round-the-clock feedings. Mary jokingly challenged her engineer husband to build a better baby. Rick took Mary’s challenge to heart. Several weeks later the first prototype of the infant simulator was born.
The Realityworks infant simulator has improved with advancements in technology. The latest models, RealCare® Baby II and RealCare® Baby II-plus, offer the most realistic infant care experience possible. Baby is designed to look, feel, sound, and respond like a real infant.
The experiential learning that RealCare® Baby II provides make it a truly effective teaching tool. Baby requires round-the-clock care that includes feeding, burping, diapering, rocking, proper head support, and proper positioning. In addition, Baby is equipped with sensors to detect abuse or mishandling. Participants wear tamper-proof bracelets with a wireless ID system to ensure that they are the primary caregivers throughout the simulation. This hands-on approach allows adolescents to feel the demands of parenting in a way that can’t be illustrated by words, images, or passive baby stand-ins such as eggs or sacks of flour.
Fifteen different care schedules are available – ranging from easy to difficult. These schedules are based on diaries kept by parents of real infants. A variety of programming options provide individualized experiences. A detailed reporting feature allows the facilitator to see how well Baby was cared for, or if Baby was neglected or abused.
The RealCare® Baby II-plus model offers several added features for facilitators. RealCare® Baby II-plus is rechargeable and can be plugged into any wall outlet. It is also compatible with the Control Center computer software, which allows for mass programming and automatic data retrieval, and also reports the battery charge status of each Baby.
Baby is most effective when incorporated into an infant care curriculum rather than used as a stand-alone experience. The science-based RealCare® Parenting Program curriculum included with Baby has been developed with instructors and independently reviewed by experts from the National Parenting Education Network (USA). It is also linked to national Family and Consumer Sciences and Health teaching standards in the United States. The curriculum is designed to build upon and refer to the Baby experience, providing lasting impact.
Realityworks also offers a Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Mannequin and Drug Affected Demonstrator, breathtaking examples of the devastating effects of substance use during pregnancy.
The Realityworks Pregnancy Profile®, a pregnancy simulator vest, can be a precursor to the experience of parenting a newborn. It is designed to simulate the look and feel of the third trimester of pregnancy. (photo)
Since 1993, Baby has provided interactive simulations with life changing results to adolescents in more than 35 countries. Baby is used in a variety of applications including schools, babysitting instruction, youth counseling, social service programs, youth centers, foster care placement, childcare screening, and prison programs.
To learn more about the studies performed on the effectiveness of infant simulators in teen sexuality and parenting programs, request a copy of the Realityworks white paper at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anticipated or Known Documentation Endeavors:
Forbes, Fortune, Newsweek Magazine, People Magazine, New York Times, Washington Post
Dr. Phil, Oprah, ABC World News Tonight, Today Show, Good Morning America
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Contact and Submitter Information:
Organization Reference People:
(1)- 715.830.2050 USA
2709 Mondovi Road
Eau Claire, WI 54701
Organization Web Addresses:
Original case study Submitted by:
Carol L. Lambert, Public Relations and Community Affairs Manager
Baby Think It Over, Inc.
Original Prepared by:
BTIO Educational Products, Inc.