By Ken Steadman
The state of Tennessee passed a state law several years ago that requires health testing in all elementary schools. This includes screening for sight and hearing as well as Body Mass Index (BMI) for blood pressure, weight and height. Kids in Pre-K, kindergarten, second, fourth, sixth and eighth grades are required for testing each year. This provides a check on a student every two years for any possible health problem.
The Fairfield Glade Lions Club, with assistance from the Crossville Lions Club, has conducted sight and hearing screening for all Cumberland County elementary schools for the past several years. Each Lions Club chairman would schedule a time for each of the 10 schools to test children for KidSight, Sight and Hearing. This would be accomplished over at least three months to accommodate each school's schedule and the availability of Lions Club members.
Cumberland County Nurse Superintendent Sharon Barrett received a request from the School Administrative Department to recommend a health testing program that would conserve more instructional time. The proposed plan was to set aside one day at each of the 10 schools to accomplish health testing over a period of three weeks. The Lions were contacted and helped carry out a new schedule in mid-September. One hundred and one Lions worked 1,170 hours to conduct 5,273 screenings. Barrett and her 11 active and six substitute nurses carried out 2,554 BMI tests. All in all, everybody was pleased with the new plan and expect it will continue again next school year. Teachers were especially pleased to have more instructional time to complete their schedule.
KidSight testing is the newest program for the Lions. It was created to test kids who are 1-6 years old. It was designed and developed by Vanderbilt University Eye Center with the assistance of the Tennessee Lions Eye Center. Regular testing for sight requires the child to recognize various objects or items to determine any problems. Children under the age of six have difficulty with this testing. The KidSight Scanner was developed to take a reading of each eye on a tape (like a grocery store receipt) that a qualified eye doctor can identify up to eight possible eye problems that can be treated early in this young life.
The Lions hearing test is done with machines that play different level frequency sounds that the child can identify by simply raising their hand. This record shows the range for both the right and left ear and indicates any possible hearing problem. A total of 414 referrals were reported from all the Lions testing.