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PrattTribune - Pratt, KS
  • Charity's donation opens eyes

  • A not-for-profit organization that serves children and adults in central and western Kansas has a new tool, paid for by a $5,980 grant from Ronald McDonald House Charities Wichita.
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  • A not-for-profit organization that serves children and adults in central and western Kansas has a new tool, paid for by a $5,980 grant from Ronald McDonald House Charities Wichita. Five to 10 percent of preschool children have vision problems, according to the American Optometric Association, but they can't read letters projected on a wall, discern "is this one better, or is this one?" or communicate that information to an examiner.
    There are a number of alternatives for preschool eye exams, but the SureSight Vision screener is fast, giving a reading in about 10 seconds, and requires only minimal participation from the child being screened.
    The child is instructed to sit very still, look at a red light and open his or her eyes as if surprised. Auditory signals let the screener know if the equipment is being used correctly, and a "tah dah" announces that the screening is complete. It identifies common vision problems such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism and differences between eyes.
    "It's a great thing for us to have," Arrowhead West development manager Nadine Lampe said. "Not only do we use it in our screening clinics, but staff who go to homes to work with children can take the screener with them. It's a great asset for us to have."
    Grants come from a combination of fund-raising efforts through area McDonald's restaurants and matching grant funds from Ronald McDonald House Charities corporate office. Its two core programs are Ronald McDonald House® and Ronald McDonald Family Room®, however, the grants expand the charity's impact to more than 25,000 children in the state.
    Arrowhead West Child Services provides screening and developmental intervention services to children from birth to age three. Its primary focus is to provide the child's caregivers with strategies and resources that can be implemented within the child's natural environment and routine to increase their developmental skills. In 2011, they provided free development screenings and evaluations to 586 children in the 6-county service area serviced by the Pratt office. Fifty-one are currently enrolled in Arrowhead West services.
    The organization also serves about two dozen local adults. They lease the Pratt Teen Center during the day for life skills training, operate an integrated employment program and provide residential services at a house in the Eastland addition and duplexes at Seventh and High Streets.
    Lampe confirmed that they are currently looking at property in Pratt's Prairie Parkway Business Park, with the expectation of building a facility that will allow them to expand services to adults. The plan is still in the preliminary stages, she said.

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