The years between birth and the start of kindergarten are a time of rapid growth and development for children, and potential learning difficulties are more easily aided if they are detected sooner in children. Early vision screening to detect whether a child needs glasses is extremely important. Minnesota state law requires all children who have not obtained an exemption per parental wishes to complete Early Childhood Screening before entering kindergarten.
Early Childhood Screening is free and screens children in multiple areas: speech, language, concepts, gross and fine motor skills, vision and hearing, height and weight, and immunizations. Screening has the potential to link families to free early learning opportunities and resources, including Head Start, Early Childhood Family Education, prekindergarten programs, Early Childhood Special Education, Early Learning Scholarships, and home visiting programs.
At the screening, families can expect their child to participate in simple building, drawing, and talking activities, as well as simple games. The tool used to screen development can be used with children ages 3 to 5, and is scored according to age – while the same questions are asked of three-year-olds and five-year-olds, the expectations are different, and children are not expected to complete every item in the screening.
Children are given “silly sunglasses” during the hearing and vision portion of the screening. These glasses allow them to only see through one eye. They will also wear headphones and listen to tones. Various strategies will be used as needed to help children complete the screenings.
The facilitators of the screening understand child development and know the screening is a “snapshot” of a child’s development. Resources and support will be shared with families based on their child’s needs and skills.
“Screening is a great opportunity to check your child’s hearing, vision, and development. It isn’t meant to be stressful or intimidating,” program coordinator Kim Lenski says. “We try to keep the screening lighthearted and fun.”
To schedule a screening, contact 218-226-4437 ext. 8158 in Silver Bay, or 218-834-8201 ext. 8230 in Two Harbors. Scheduling is also available through the website https://lakesuperiorcomed.ce.eleyo.com/.