Children First: Students Already Tested

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Once a year, eye charts and audiometers get an extra bit of use as the children in the Meridian Public School District have their eyes and ears checked. It's part of the caring for the overall health and well-being of your children.

"We test the kindergartners because it's their first year in school and it's an early intervention program, and 4th grade is about when a child's eyes and ears are going to change because of growth spurts and such," said school nurse Ann Compton.

The school nurses and the speech pathologist tested almost 200 children. In the last few weeks, they've tested every kindergartner and fourth grader in the district.

"This is just a normal part of taking care of yourself," said Compton. "Your eyes have to last you for the rest of your life, as well as your hearing."

"So many of our sounds are learned at an early age and if a child is deprived of hearing the sounds, they won't be able to do it, so the earlier you catch it, the better," said speech pathologist Debbie Carter.

If a child doesn't pass the vision or hearing screening, he or she is re-tested a week or so later. If the child doesn't pass the second screening, it's time to visit the ear or eye doctor.

"Parents can be observant at home and notice if children are having problems seeing certain things. If a child talks especially loud, they might have a hearing problem. It pays to be observant for anything out of the ordinary," said school nurse Robbie McKee.