MANDATORY EYE EXAMS FOR KINDERGARTEN
Parents should seek a comprehensive visual evaluation for their children as early as possible especially if they are struggling in school stated Dr. Joseph McCray, Associate Director of Plano Child Development Center. Effective January 1st, 2008, children entering kindergarten or enrolling for the first time in public, private or parochial elementary school in Illinois will be required to have an eye examination by a qualified eye doctor. Proof of the required eye exam must be submitted by October 15th of each school year. Additional vision exams at various grade levels may be required when deemed necessary by school authorities.
Plano salutes our state legislators and the Illinois Federation of Teachers for taking the lead in requiring the best eye health care for the children of Illinois.
Plano Child Development Centers (Plano) service to children at pre-selected Illinois Department of Human Service Centers, found that over 60% of preschoolers and 90% of school age children needed follow-up vision care. Of those needing follow-up care, 42% needed glasses and 38% needed functional vision care services like vision therapy which is provided at Plano. Plano's affiliate corporation, Vision Health Management Systems, Inc. (VHMS) involvement in the Chicago Public School (CPS) Healthy Kids Healthy Minds Vision Program provided over 20,000 K-12th graders at selected schools with comprehensive vision exams. In reviewing 65% of the results, over 80% needed follow-up vision care (91% needed glasses, 4% medical and 8% function vision care follow-up). Plano has certainly demonstrated to our state leaders the need to support and expand both of these programs. Continuation of the CPS programs is still pending on legislative allocations funding for the program. We hope with their passing of the mandatory eye exam bill, they will allocate funds to provide services to the under-insured and uninsured children in Chicago.
We look forward to our U.S. Senate joining our U.S. House of Representatives in passing the Vision Care For Kids Act. I'm proud that our legislator's recognizes the link between healthy vision and classroom learning and seeks to provide federal funding to states with children vision programs. Plano hopes to receive one of these federal grants since it encourages children vision partnerships with non-profit entities such as Plano.
Plano is one of the only not-for-profit organizations that provide an individualized treatment program called vision therapy, which is prescribed to enhance the vision development and specific vision skills needed in the learning process. When vision development problems are identified, the cause may not be necessarily related to eye sight but to vision which is the ability to identify, process and understand what is seen. Dr. Robert Johnson, founder of Plano Child Development says, our youth with undetected and untreated vision problems may be helped if we are to improve the quality of life in our community.
For more information refer to www.planovision.org or call 773-924-5297.