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Send your child back to school happy and healthy

By Katie Snyder

DEER VALLEY, AZ – The countdown is on, and parents and kids alike are feeling the pressure to get ready for school.

While stocking up on school supplies and buying new clothes are typically top priority on the back-to-school to-do list there is one thing that is often overlooked — health.

According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, many health risk behaviors are established in childhood and early adolescence.

By taking the proper precautions ahead of time parents can help kids avoid common and potentially dangerous diseases and other health conditions throughout the school year.

So, what should parents do?

Health experts recommend all children head to their primary healthcare physician for a routine check-up during which the physician will check vital signs, growth measurements, weight and address any health concerns prior to school starting.

While not required, many schools also recommend all kids enrolled be up to date with all their immunizations prior to school starting. If your child’s immunization records are not up to date, check with your primary healthcare physician to schedule immunization shots during your child’s routine checkup.

In addition to paying a visit to their primary healthcare provider, children should also have their hearing tested as well.

There are at least 1.4 million children (18 or younger) that have hearing problems and millions of others that have deteriorating hearing that don’t even know it yet.

“Many parents overlook hearing tests during back-to-school check-ups,” said Sherri Collins, executive director at the Arizona Commission for the Deaf and the Hard of Hearing. “If not recognized early, a hearing loss can affect a child’s ability to develop communication, language, and social skills.”

And these aren’t the only health recommendations from experts. In addition to general health and hearing tests, experts also recommend parents do the following:

• Talk to your child about the importance of a healthy diet and check with the school for healthy meal plan options for the year.
• Schedule routine dental checks to make sure your child’s teeth and gums are healthy.
• While not required at all schools, regular vision tests are recommended and should be continue throughout adulthood.

The final health recommendation — sleep. Getting up early and going to bed early, is probably the last thing your child wants to do. Start monitoring nighttime activities, setting an earlier bedtime and suspending any late night snacking on food or drink with sugar and caffeine to help your child start off the new school year happy and healthy.

ACDHH strives to serve every individual’s needs by offering information and referral services, advocacy and in-service training to professionals related to the provision of effective communication. A Healthcare Providers curriculum is currently available to healthcare professionals. The commission also offers telecommunication services such as the equipment distribution program and Arizona Relay Service. Community development and outreach education are among the agency services. By informing deaf and hard of hearing individuals about their rights and the laws and programs available to support those rights, they, too, can become empowered as self-advocates.

Healthcare providers and individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing and need more information on ensuring effective medial communication should visit www.acdhh.org and click on the resources tab or call 602-542-3323 for more information.

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