Kids’ Health Fair in Craig focuses on early intervention | CraigDailyPress.com

Kids’ Health Fair in Craig focuses on early intervention

Lauren Blair

The Early Childhood Center located in the Moffat County School District Administration Building was buzzing with activity Monday afternoon during the Kids' Health Fair. The fair provided free health screenings to children ages 2 to 5 in order to get an early start on identifying health or developmental issues.

All of MCSD preschool staff and teachers were in attendance, joined by volunteers from Craig Lions Club, Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association, Northwest Colorado Dental Coalition and Connections 4 Kids.

More than 70 kids attended Monday's fair, which was hosted in previous years by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Craig.

There are currently 170 students enrolled in the MCSD preschool program this year, with classes at each of the four elementary schools as well as at the Early Childhood Center. The preschool program has grown from one classroom to a total of seven since its inception.

"The goal is that all preschool students attend either a fall or spring health screening," said Early Childhood Center Secretary Lila Douglas. "I think we had a great turnout."

The screenings are part of a larger statewide effort called Child Find, a program administered by the Colorado Department of Education. Child Find requires that children in every school district be tested for cognitive functioning, physical functioning, hearing and vision, speech and language, and social and emotional development, according to the CDE website.

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"This is all about early intervention," Early Childhood Center Director Stephanie Davis said.

If any issues are found through the screenings, a child is referred for more testing. The Child Find evaluation team, including the parents, then determines whether a child is eligible for early intervention or preschool special education services and develops an Individual Education Plan, according to the CDE website.

"We generally start the school year with 20 kids on an IEP," Davis said. "Last year, we ended with 47."

The Craig Lions Club offered eye screenings at the health fair, a service it has provided to students of Moffat County schools for the past 15 years.

"We do approximately 600 kids per year," said long-time Lions Club member Al Shepherd, who has been doing the screenings since 1999.

Fueled by the Lions Club mission to eradicate blindness throughout the world, this event was one of many that the organization will participate in throughout the school year. More screenings will be held now through March at each of the elementary schools, Eagle's Nest Preschool and other locations.

"We could not do it without the help of the community," Davis said.

Contact Lauren Blair at 970-875-1794 or lblair@CraigDailyPress.com or follow her on Twitter @CDP_Education.