Submitted by Kim Schiavi Central Michigan District Health Department

OSCEOLA COUNTY — Good vision and  the ability to hear are two important elements in helping a child succeed. Make sure your child gets their eyes and ears checked.

Clearness of vision, eye muscle balance, nearsightedness and farsightedness are tests offered during a vision screening through a local health department. Hearing screenings have often been helpful in identifying hearing loss and providing assistance in finding the appropriate medical referrals if further testing is needed.

Central Michigan District Health Department offers both screenings to children during the school year at no cost to the parents. For children 3 through 6 years of age with Medicaid coverage, your insurance covers the cost of the screening.

Our state-trained staff provides vision screening services to children in preschool and in first, third, fifth, seventh and ninth grades. Hearing screening is done for preschool children and those in kindergarten, second and fourth grade. Preschoolers are screened in larger daycares, Head Start centers, or during kindergarten round-ups. Students are screened throughout the school year as our technicians visit each school district. 

Other children may be screened at the request of a teacher or parent, and are also offered at our health department clinics by appointment if needed.

All children who are being home-schooled can also get screened at no cost to the parent. Any family with home-schooled children can call the local health department branch office in their county and ask to make an appointment for hearing and vision screening. Appointments are available during the summer months as well.

The parent of any child who does not pass the screening is contacted and asked to take the child in for more testing by a doctor. Approximately 10 percent of children screened for vision and 5 percent of children screened for hearing are referred to specialists. Referrals to community services for assistance are also available. For more information or to set up a screening appointment for eligible school age children please call (231) 832-5532 ext. 1521 in Osceola County

This article has been brought to you by Central Michigan District Health Department, which serves the counties of Arenac, Clare, Gladwin, Isabella, Osceola and Roscommon. Visit our website at cmdhd.org, like Central Michigan District Health Department on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @CMiDHD.