Porter-Leath values providing the earliest intervention for the children and families we serve. One way our staff fulfills this value is by offering all students connected to Porter-Leath with a variety of health screenings. Lead by Stephanie Jones, Porter-Leath’s Health Services Manager, the initial screenings take place at the beginning of the school year, most of which occur within 45-90 days from the first day of school. Jones’ team collaborates with fellow Porter-Leath staff members and community organizations like the University of Memphis and Focus First to screen nearly 2,000 students each fall.
Children who may have undiagnosed developmental delays, learning disorders, behavioral and social-emotional concerns or difficulty with
hearing, vision or speech can result in reduced academic performance, and low self-esteem. By screening children early in their lives, Porter-Leath can help identify benchmarks for growth, provide preventative measures and help families learn how to support children year-round!
With caregiver consent, children are screened for behavioral and learning delays in addition to vision, hearing, speech and general health. Once children are screened, caregivers are able to review the results and are supported by Porter-Leath staff for any additional follow up. This follow up may be in the form of a referral to specialists, contact with either Tennessee’s Early Intervention System or the Local Education Agency, or simply helping families know what to ask their pediatrician at their child’s next check-up.
Additionally, Porter-Leath is able to assist families who may need to develop an Individual Family Service Plan or Individual Education Plan (IEP) for their child. By creating an a plan, educators, caregivers and family liaisons can combine their efforts in helping a child succeed inside and outside the classroom by addressing specific needs. “Many families have said to our staff, ‘I knew there was something going on with my child, but I didn’t know the first step,’ and that is why I feel this work is so important,” said Stephanie Jones. She goes on to explain, “We want to rule out any concerns so that children are best able to learn and families can be confident in their ability to advocate for their children.”
The Health Services team provides additional screenings as needed in the spring to capture newly enrolled students and supply ongoing support for families. By providing screenings for over twenty years, Porter-Leath is committed to the comprehensive health of local children and to building strong learners in our community.
Learn more about the early learning options available at Porter-Leath visit porterleath.org/preschool today!