Healthy Beginnings will be offering no-cost screenings next Friday at the Larson Learning Center for children up to 5 years old

by: PHOTOS CONTRIBUTED BY CHANDLER PHOTOGRAPHY - Healthy Beginnings will be performing a variety of different screenings to check such things as hearing, speech and language development, and nutrition.

Local parents will be given the opportunity next week to bring their young child in for a no-cost health and development screening.

Healthy Beginnings is hosting a free 12-point kid inspection for children up to 5 years old next Friday morning at the Larson Learning Center.

The screening will be conducted by a variety of trained volunteers and health and development professions who will check such things as hearing and vision, nutrition, and motor skills.

“It is modeled after a Head Start screening,” said Holly Remer, executive director for Healthy Beginnings. “It provides assessment in both health and development, and that includes behavior.”

Remer said that the screening is designed to include evaluations on things not always covered during a standard pediatric visit, including speech and language development, nutrition, and dental health.

“The reason for this screening and why it was developed is because our communities decided that they didn’t want kids to be missed,” Remer said. “They wanted to make sure they had access to health care and educational services much earlier than waiting until kindergarten.”

Parents can either make an appointment, which will likely guarantee a quicker and more efficient visit, or walk in for the screening. They will be presented with a self-select process where they can connect with trained volunteers and professionals in a variety of fields.

“The resources are really pretty extensive,” Remer said.

There is no charge for the screenings, regardless of income, although Healthy Beginnings accepts donations intended to pay for future services. As a result it is estimated that parents save as much as $3,000 over what it would cost to make individual appointments for the same checkups.

“It is a pretty generous value,” Remer remarked.

Children will be screened in an environment intended to make them and their parents comfortable.

“We really try to make it as un-clinical as possible,” Remer said.

The screening will not yield any formal diagnoses. While the volunteers and professionals often identify autism, dental concerns, and more, their role is to put parents in touch with specialists who can address the issues.

“What we are trying to do is identify concerns that have gone unidentified and get those kids connected with additional services,” Remer said.

As time nears for the local screenings, Remer stressed that Healthy Beginnings continues to actively search for Crook County volunteers, and encourages individuals who want to help administer the services to contact the organization. She explained that the presence of local individuals tends to further enhance the experience for families.

“We find that parents are more open and more apt to take our recommendations if it comes from someone in their community,” she said.

The Healthy Beginnings 12-point kid inspection will be held on Friday, Feb. 7, from 9 to 11 a.m., at Larson Learning Center, 471 N.E. Ochoco Plaza Drive. To schedule an appointment, call 541-383-6357 or visit Walk-ins are also welcome.

To volunteer for the 12-point kid inspection, call 541-383-6357.

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