Friday, April 24, 2015

Special People In Need Donates $1,000 to Support Center’s School Screening Program

SPIN, Inc.

Special People In Need, Inc. has awarded the Center $1,000 to support the Center’s School Screening Program. The funding will provide hearing and vision screenings for 143 local children living in low-income households this year.

“The Center’s School Screening Program has long been recognized as a local leader in the identification of hearing loss and vision challenges and the treatment of hearing disorders,” said Sarah Igoe, Center school screening coordinator. “With help provided by Special People in Need, we can identify hundreds of children, get them started with the appropriate services or therapy and give them the tools necessary to learn.”

Often described as "invisible disabilities" because they cause problems that are not easily detected, hearing and vision deficits can be devastating to a child's development and school success. The Center’s School Screening Program targets children attending schools in some of the most impoverished neighborhoods of St. Louis, identifies hearing and vision problems, and provides feedback and referral information to the children’s parents and guardians. In 2014, the Center screened 14,156 children, 81 percent of which were free. To date, the Center has been able to provide free screenings to every child who qualifies because of funding support from organizations like Special People in Need.

The Center’s School Screening Program offers hearing, tympanometry and vision screenings for children at area elementary schools, daycares and Head Start programs. Hearing and vision loss are often described as “invisible handicaps,” causing problems that are not easily detected but can be devastating to children as they develop.

These hearing and vision screenings identify problems that are among the most treatable health issues affecting young children. Hearing screenings are performed with portable audiometers and headsets. A child hears a series of beeps to which he/she responds by raising a hand. Tympanometry is performed to detect middle ear problems such as ear infections or fluid behind the eardrum. Vision screenings are done with the latest Haag-Streit Stimuli Advanced Acuity System.

The Center provides follow up information, referral resources and a caring and competent staff to inform parents and guardians about their child’s health needs. The families of children who do not pass a screening receive referral information and details about the importance of follow-up care as well as a phone call from the Center’s staff to answer any questions. If hearing loss and/or vision problems are detected, parents have the opportunity to act early and receive treatment to address the problem and prevent a potentially long-term, negative impact upon the child’s development.

The School Screening Program has been very successful, steadily growing since its inception in 1969. The Center continues to seek new ways to cost-effectively partner with other organizations and increase the number of children screened.

If you are interested in having the School Screening Program come to your school, call the Center at 314-968-4710 for more information. Screenings cost $7 per child, and financial assistance is available for a limited number of schools each year. 

 The Center for Hearing & Speech is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization that donates $1.75 million in speech-language, school screening and audiology services to residents of metropolitan St. Louis and surrounding communities. It is a proud member of the United Way of Greater St. Louis and was awarded the Better Business Bureau’s (BBB) 2014 TORCH Award. The award is given to charities and businesses that “demonstrate a commitment to customer service through exceptional standards for ethical business practices,” according to the BBB.

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