Children's Vision and Learning Summit 2016
You are invited to join this program that will:
- Focus on the impact a child’s vision health has on the acquisition of early literacy skills and learning;
- Recognize and celebrate individuals, partners and organizations in Massachusetts dedicated to the coalition’s vision that all children have the opportunity to develop their best possible vision.
Live Well Springfield ~ KIDS
In 2012 Partners for a Healthier Community convened an innovative initiative called Live Well Springfield ~ KIDS (LWS ~ KIDS). The key goal of LWS ~ KIDS is to reposition young families to play significant roles in their child’s early development by effectively navigating formal care systems to connect their infants, toddlers, and preschoolers to sufficiently intensive supports placing them on a path to early school success. In essence the Early Education and Care Center (EECC)/ preschool becomes the “whole child health” environment with hearing, vision, oral health, physical health, and mental health services embedded in the organization’s daily routine. BEST Oral Health, Farm to Preschool & Families and EyeSEE are three preschool programs convened by PHC under the Live Well Springfield~KIDS initiative.
EyeSEE (early screening, education & exams)
For the past three years LWS~KIDS has strategically and fortuitously partnered with Children’s Vision Massachusetts (CVMA), to raise awareness of the importance of early vision screening for all Springfield preschoolers. Five to ten percent of all preschool-aged children have vision problems; about 1 in 20 preschoolers and 1 in 4 school age children. Many vision problems can be corrected if diagnosed early enough. In 2014 PHC conducted the LWS~KIDS Vision Screening and Eye Health Survey to collect baseline data from Springfield families about their experience accessing vision services for their children, preschool age children in particular. Click on link to survey. Fifty percent of parents were not sure if there child had ever been screened for vision in by their pediatrician or preschool although Massachusetts mandates all four year olds be screened for vision.
In January 2015 The Department of Early Education and Care and Lions Club District 33Y came on board to launch our early vision pilot EyeSEE in five Springfield preschool sites and 400 preschoolers age 36-72 months were screened by the Lions using their SPOT vision screening device. Eleven percent of children were referred for a comprehensive eye exam due to screening results. Unfortunately we encountered several obstacles to overcome to connect our preschoolers and families to comprehensive eye exams and vision services including a serious pediatric vision provider workforce shortage in Western MA, insurance issues, and the lack of public awareness about the importance of early vision screening.
EyeSEE was featured in Children's Vision MA Coalition (CVMA) presentation at the July 2016 “Focus on Eye Health National Summit 2016” in Washington DC to highlight the need for early vision screening and comprehensive vision services to ensure all preschoolers enter Kindergarten with their best possible vision. PHC and CVMA are co-hosting the “2016 SUMMIT Vision and Learning Making the Connection” in Boston on October 20, 2016 and in Holyoke October 2016. The SUMMIT will focus on the impact a child’s vision health has on the acquisition of early literacy skills and learning, and recognize individuals, partners and organizations in Massachusetts dedicated to the coalition’s vision that all children have the opportunity to develop their best possible vision. Click on link to 2016 SUMMIT Vision and Learning Making the Connection registration information.
LWS ~ KIDS Partner Agencies include:
- Baystate Health Systems
- Behavioral Health Network
- Boston Medical Center HealthNet Plan
- Boys & Girls Club Family Center
- Childrens House Child Care
- Childrens Vision Massachusetts
- Holyoke, Chicopee, Springfield Head Start
- Health New England
- New England College of Optometry
- New North Citizen’s Council Child Care Center
- Prevent Blindness America
- Springfield Department of Early Education & Care
- Springfield Partners for Community Action New Beginnings Childcare
- Springfield Public Schools
- Square One Child Care
- YMCA Learning Center