Developmental screening for pre-kindergarten kids

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NEGAUNEE, Mich. (WLUC) - When children start school, they are sometimes spending the day away from their parents for the first time.

To make sure they are at the very least developmentally prepared for their new adventure, schools offer pre-school screening for kids five and under.

Schools who receive federal funds are required to do "Child Find" screenings, which for Negaunee Schools are generally done through Community Action Alger Marquette, to identify and address any developmental needs a child may need before Kindergarten.

"Sometimes parents don't feel that there's an issue with their child because they can understand their child but we often find that sometimes there's articulation errors that aren't necessarily developmental errors that they will eventually grow out of," Special Education Coordinator for Negaunee Public School District Kellie Boase said.

The point based screening is done in one day, and afterwards, educators speak with the parents about what kinds of behaviors their child has at home, or in public to get a better idea of their child's needs.

"The Marquette County Health Department comes and they do a vision and hearing screening," Early Childhood Special Education Teacher Sara Stabile said. "Some of us look more at the concepts and the skills as far as numbers and letters, others look at the fine motor and gross motor skills that they have, and the results of those screenings also help us in the process.

Negaunee educators said because they only have a chance to interact with the child for a single day, they may invite them back for further testing if a sign appears.

"If they score a little bit higher as far as needs in one or more of those areas then we have them come back to follow up just to make sure that we're making the right choice," Stabile said.

The therapy itself focuses on what a child needs, for example, if a child has a problem with diction, or uses incorrect pronouns, the educators can aim to build on what they already know, while advancing their abilities.

"A lot of it is play based at this age so they don't even really know that they're working on a language goal or an articulation goal because it is more play based," Speech Language Pathologist for the Negaunee Preschool Program Arica Altobello said.

Some parents said the extra attention can help the child socially as well, in order to prepare them for school.

"I just think it really helps them and prepares them for kindergarten I think that's like the main thing," Negaunee Parent Kaley Niemi said.

For more information on the preschool screening, you can visit the Community Action Alger Marquette website at:

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