Developmental disorders targeted

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Experts agree that early detection of a medical problem is half the battle and increases the chances of finding a successful treatment.

Educators have found the same is true of developmental disorders.

"I think the way early childhood professionals look at it is, the earlier you catch a problem, the earlier you intervene and the easier it is to work with the child and find solutions," said Judi Whilden, owner of Sunrise Kids Preschool and Child Care.

Eighty percent of a child's brain development takes place in the first year of life. Children with cognitive or physical delays that aren't addressed can miss out on a significant opportunity to learn and develop necessary skills.

Catching the signs of a cognitive or physical problem is the goal of the groups sponsoring the 2004 Chil-dren's Health Fair -- an opportunity for parents to have their children screened for developmental delays.

"It's a great program," Whilden said.

Children newborn to age 5 (but who are not yet in kindergarten) can attend the screening.

At the Health Fair, screenings include: cognition, hearing, health, vision, dental, fine and gross motor skills.

Evaluators also consider speech and language and social and emotional development.

Many of the tests are done in ways that make the child think they're just playing.

Screenings are by appointment only, and interpreters are available for non-English speaking families.

The Health Fair is sponsored by the Moffat County School District Child Find Team and Early Childhood Center in cooperation with the Northwest Dental Coalition, the Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association, Craig Mental Health, the Craig Lions Club, the Early Childhood Coalition and several community volunteers.

Christina M. Currie can be reached at 824-7031, Ext. 210 or at ccurrie@craigdailypress.com.

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