Plea For Equipment To Screen Rock Island Co. Children - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Plea For Equipment To Screen Rock Island Co. Children

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A program that screens young children for potential learning disabilities desperately needs new equipment. The Early Childhood Coalition says it needs to update its vision screening machines used to check Rock Island County pre-schoolers for vision problems.

The agency's current vision screeners are breaking down and the company that made the equipment has gone out of business. The agency tests motor skills, hearing and vision of children as young as six months old, as a way to correct any problems before a child enters school.

Cheri Hayes, a nurse with the East Moline School District says without the screening, not only can learning suffer, but if left untreated, the damage could become permanent.

"We pick up things like muscle imbalances of the eye. If that muscle imbalance continues, what happens is the brain will actually shut off the vision of one eye. So in the future, that child will go blind if that muscle imbalance does not get corrected," Hayes said.

According to experts, 25 percent of school aged children suffer from a vision problem and 80 percent of juvenile delinquents have a vision issue.

The Early Childhood Coalition hopes to purchase new vision screening equipment at a cost of $8,000 each, through grants and donations from the community. The Early Childhood Coalition office is located at 4341 18th Avenue, Rock Island, Ill.