Seeing the Potential - Head Start Vision Screening Finds Solution
Seeing the Potential - Head Start Vision Screening Finds Solution

Head Start Vision Screening Uncovers a SolutionPreschooler with glasses is held by her teacher.

Emma is proud of her glasses, and it’s not simply because they’re her favorite color, purple, or that they look like her teacher, Miss K’s. In the short time since she got them, they have made an unbelievable impact.
 
In the first five years, children are tasting, touching, smelling, seeing and listening to everything — often for the first time. They’re using all of their senses to learn skills they will need to be successful in school. Problems with any of their senses can be serious barriers to school readiness.
 

At 18 months, Emma was falling behind her peers. Rather than using her words to communicate, she would point to what she wanted then cry and scream out of frustration when her gestures didn’t yield the desired response. At times she would shut down altogether — refusing to participate in activities, interact with others, and walk.

 

Preschooler with purple glasses looks at camera. She is wearing a winter coat.
Because she attended The Rock at Stony Point, a The Family Conservancy (TFC) Early Head Start site, she received a routine vision screening — something routinely provided to every Head Start child. After conducting the screening, TFC’s Head Start Health Coordinator recommended a complete vision exam. The program staff shared the screening information with Emma’s mother and provided information on receiving the recommended follow-up care.
 
The exam resulted in the proud purple glasses and many positive changes in Emma’s behavior.
 
“She’s a totally different person than she was a few months ago, and I contribute it to the glasses. Once she got them her whole demeanor changed. She walks everywhere, she’s smiling” she stays on track. She has really become a leader and we’re seeing her potential,” comments The Rock at Stony Point owner Lee Howell.
 
According to a 2011 study published in the medical journal Pediatrics, up to one out of 20 preschool-age American children has a vision problem.
 
Before her program become a Head Start partner, Howell isn’t sure the problem would have been addressed. “I wouldn’t have even know there was a problem. Looking back, she was really acting out. I’m sure she was straining and struggling to see, but I don’t know if we would have ever put it together.
 
In addition to this success, by providing hearing and vision screenings at The Rock at Stony Point, TFC’s Head Start Health Coordinator identified two more children with impairments. Both received follow-up exams and are showing similar improvements.Man walks two preschool girls to the bus stop. They are holding hands.
 
Unaddressed vision or hearing impairments can be a barrier to school-readiness — children use all their senses to learn. For this reason, Head Start and Early Head Start programs perform routine vision screenings for every child enrolled into the program.

 

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