Scores of children come to Children’s Health Fair in Moffat County School District
Developmental screenings mark key preparations before children enter preschool
April 3, 2016
Craig — For Ann Sondrol, one of the hardest parts of getting ready for preschool is anticipating the day her children will be away from home.
"I guess it's just leaving them," Sondrol said with a smile. She has 3-year-old triplets. "I've got to drop them off, and they're getting so big."
Sondrol was among dozens of parents bringing children to the Children's Health Fair in the Moffat County School District Administration Building on Friday. About 120 children up to 5 years old attended the two-day fair this year, according to Stephanie Davis, the district's preschool director, allowing those children to get health and developmental screenings that they'll need to enter preschool.
District staff members provided developmental screenings, and the fair brought together a cluster of local organizations to deliver screenings and other services.
Tanya Ferguson, service coordinator for early intervention with Horizons Specialized Services, said screenings can act as a way to set parents' minds at ease. She was conducting developmental screenings for children from birth to just less than 3 years old during the health fair.
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Often, she said, parents are concerned about when their children ought to be walking.
"They think all kids should be walking at a year old," Ferguson said. "I try to explain that that's one of the biggest windows of development for kiddos, because it can be anywhere from nine months to 18 months, or even closer to two."
Malea Johnson, a dental hygienist with the Northwest Colorado Dental Coalition, was also providing screenings at the fair. She said finding dental care for children can be a challenge in Moffat County.
"It is tough to get care in this population," Johnson said. "Dr. Hank (Salyer), who's a pediatric dentist, sees a lot of children, and so I'm really thankful for him in this community. A lot of kids we did see today have had dental care before. But it is kind of a dental desert in Moffat County."
Johnson said Salyer divides time between Moffat and Routt counties.
Other screenings included a visual scanning, to test eye health, conducted by the Craig Lions Club. On Friday, Lions Club Treasurer Al Shepherd and Secretary Jane Hume talked about their work, as Shepherd held up the camera he was using to do the scans.
"This was the first one out of Germany to come into the United States," Shepherd said, and he added that it took some time after the Lions Club obtained it — with the help of a grant from the Yampa Valley Electric Association — before members were able actually to use it.
"The instructions were in German," noted Hume.
"And we finally got English translations," added Shepherd.
Shepherd said the Lions Club was looking for volunteers to help with these sorts of screenings — which the group does in a number of schools throughout the area.
"I'm the only one in the Lions Club who knows how to use the camera," Shepherd said. "I'm in great need of new members, younger members, to help to do this eye screening."
Davis called it "an enormous service" that frequently identifies children who need glasses.
One of the children tested by the Lions Club was 3-year-old Emerey Arnett.
"She was really excited to come today," said her father, Jarrod Stillion. "She thought it was her first day of school — hence the empty backpack."
Members of the Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association and Connections 4 Kids were also providing screening and information during the health fair. Davis said there will be another fair in the fall, before school starts, for families with young children unable to attend this spring. People seeking information can call 970-824-7457.