Schools partner for early screening

Published 10:42 pm Thursday, April 23, 2009

Suffolk Public Schools and The Children’s Center are partnering to provide “Child Check” this Saturday at Northern Shores Elementary School from 9 to 11:30 a.m.

Parents with children up to age 4 can bring them for free vision, hearing, speech and language screenings at the school. These screenings are of the utmost importance for children who may have developmental delays.

“It’s good to have children screened at a young age if the parents suspects they may have developmental delays,” said Jeff Zeigler, community relations coordinator for The Children’s Center. “The goal really is to have a child with any type of delay up to speed by kindergarten. The earlier you can detect that delay, the better off you are. The earlier you do it, the quicker you can get to the therapy for it.”

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According to, a California-based research site, early intervention with developmental delays is important because children develop consecutively – a child needs to learn to sit up before being able to stand, etc. Missing one part of development can severely hinder future growth. Additionally, with early intervention, a child can advance in all areas of development and build good self-esteem for entering schools and social settings.

Parents can be on the lookout for various signs that their child may have a developmental delay.

Behavioral warning signs include:

A child not paying attention to an activity for as long as other children of the same age

A child who pays attention to unusual objects for long periods of time, and enjoys this more than social interaction

A child avoids making eye contact with others

A child gets unusually frustrated when trying to do simple tasks that most children of the same age can do

Gross motor warning signs include:

A child has stiff arms and/or legs

A child has limp body posture compared to other children of the same age

A child uses one side of body more than the other side

A child is very clumsy compared with other children of the same age

Vision warning signs include:

A child seems to have difficulty following objects or people with his/her eyes

A child continues to rub his/her eyes

A child seems to have difficulty finding or picking up small objects (after the age of 12 months)

A child struggles to focus or make eye contact

A child’s eyes appear to be crossed or turned

Hearing warning signs include:

A child talking in a very loud or very soft voice

A child having difficulty responding when called from across the room

A child doesn’t startle to loud noises

For transportation to Saturday’s event, call 538-2523.