Free tests can detect disabilities

MONTROSE — The number of children being screened for speech and motor-skill disabilities is on the rise in the Montrose County School District, and Child Find coordinator Amber Gallegos said the increase is credited to better program awareness.

Child Find was created in 2001 as part of President George W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind Act. Gallegos said earlier detection of disabilities can lead to greater success as the child ages. She said the Child Find program in Montrose screens children from birth to age 5.

In other districts the program is expanded to screen students up to 21 years old.

She said the district evaluated 75 children during the 2010–11 school year and screened 175 children for gross and fine motor skills, readiness and social skills, speech and language skills, and vision and hearing.

“We’re here for children with parents that suspect there could be a disability,” Gallegos said.

Gallegos said the screenings are by appointment only.

She said Montrose is similar to Delta, where educators and parents there can refer students for evaluations and screenings.

She said the program is important to catch disabilities early so young children can receive the services and treatments they need. She said there has been greater effort between pediatric offices and the district in getting the word out to parents, educators and physicians.

The screenings are free and available year-round. Written parent or guardian permission is required. For more information, call Gallegos at 249-2405, Ext. 5643, Monday–Thursday.


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