You can’t change your genes, but you can change your behavior. You can take steps to prevent disease, lower your risk, or find problems early when treatments work best.
Pediatric Screening Part I-Hearing, Language, and Vision
A lot of screening for children has very little to do with blood samples or genetic testing. In fact, most screening will happen directly with a pediatrician and just checks that a child is developing at a rate that is similar to other children. Sometimes results from these screens will indicate a need for further testing or intervention, but most pediatric screening is simple and non-invasive. Here are some of the things you can expect as your child begins to grow and develop.
Hearing plays an important role in learning and communication, so early identification and treatment of hearing problems is vital. This can help improve a child's development and relationships throughout his or her life. Most newborns are screened for hearing loss at birth.
To learn more about how this screen works, watch this video on hearing screening for newborns. If the test comes back abnormal or if you start to notice signs of hearing loss, your child might need another hearing screen.
The first few months are a very important time for children to develop their language and communication skills, so it is very important that screening happen as quickly as possible so that a plan for treatment or intervention can be discussed with your child’s doctor. Read this article from Healthy Children Magazine on the critical importance of newborn hearing exams to learn more:
Look out for these signs that your child might be having trouble hearing:
- Your infant does not startle at noises, turn to voices, or babble at 7 to 12 months of age
- Your child has difficulty with listening activities
- Your child's speech is:
- Limited compared to children at that age
- Not easily understood
- Very loud or soft or sounds unusual
- Your child has frequent earaches
Speech and language are important for communication and interaction with others, so language screening is an important part of well-child healthcare. Language screening looks for speech that is limited compared to other children at that age. This could mean that the child’s speech is not easily understood, very loud or soft, or sounds unusual. Screening also evaluates if a child has difficulty understanding instructions, following directions, and communicating with other children and adults. Speech and language screening can help identify conditions, such as a phonological disorder or language delay, that might need more tests or treatment. It may also help identify a hearing problem and may result in follow up hearing screening.
Finally, vision screening is important for preschool children under the age of five, particularly as they start school. All these screenings help you and your child’s doctor stay aware of your young child’s health and development needs. These screenings can help you develop intervention plans at an early stage if needed and provide your child with the healthiest lifestyle.
Check out our related blog post, Pediatric Screening Part II- Developmental Screening!