Organizations offer a lunch & learn about vision issues in children

MERIDIAN, Miss, (WTOK) - Organizations are offering a special lunch & learn to help educators detected vision issues in students who are taking the Third Grade Reading Assessment test.

The Mississippi Vision Foundation and the Mississippi Optometric Association are joining forces to hold a session for educators, principals, legislatures, and teachers to learn how to detect warning signs of vision issues in early childhood.

“It is so important that our third graders have the opportunity to have preventive screening for their vision. We’re trying to equip our kids with all the tools that are necessary to be successful,” says director of federal programs for MPSD, Kelli Speed.

Four years ago, Mississippi instituted the reading assessment test that all third graders must pass in order to pass.

“The children of Meridian and the children overall of Mississippi didn’t fare too well when it came to the third-grade reading initiative. We all know that it could have been better and it should’ve been better. We’re trying to do everything we can to help these children to have every advantage they can. We feel that a lot of it is vision-related,” says optometrist, Dr. Minh Duong.

According to Dr. Duong, when he tested students who had failed the assessment, 88% needed some form of vision correction.

“Vision is so crucial in the early stages of the learning process. Stats tell us that 80% of learning problems in small children are vision-related,” says Dr. Duong.

Duong also says 75% of reading issues are missed by school screenings.

“Coming from a more professional opinion, they can go deeper with their testing. They may be able to detect these that we’re not able to,” says Northeast Elementary School counselor, Whitney Coleman.

The lunch will be on Wednesday at 12 noon in Meeting room C at the Holiday Inn in Meridian.