Back To School With Good Hearing, Vision

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture
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The Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) is reminding parents that all children entering kindergarten are required to have their hearing and vision screened prior to the start of school.

"Undetected hearing and vision problems can affect a child's ability to learn in the classroom," said MDCH Director Janet Olszewski. "Children with undetected hearing or vision problems are often labeled as having behavior problems or a learning disability. A proper screening allows a child who might have a hearing a vision problem to receive proper care."

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The Michigan Department of Community Health Hearing and Vision Screening Programs are mandated by law and provide services in all counties in Michigan. By law, all children must be screened for hearing at least once between the ages of 3 and 5 years old, in kindergarten, second and fourth grades. Vision screening takes place at least one time between the ages of 3 and 5 years old, first, third, fifth, seventh, and ninth grades (or in conjunction with driver training). These services are available to all Michigan children through the local health department the family resides in and are free of charge.

In Michigan, during the 2006-07 school year, just under 500,000 children were screened for hearing with more than 18,000 referrals made to physicians. For vision, more than 580,000 children were screened with more than 56,000 referrals made to eye care professionals.

Early identification of hearing and vision problems can prevent developmental delays that relate to speech and language development, social and emotional development, academic achievement, and permanent vision loss.

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