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Health Services

Mental Health

Mental Health and Wellness Services are provided to Early Head Start and Head Start children.These services support positive social emotional growth for young children and their families.By engaging parents in program services, they are provided many opportunities to learn about mental and behavioral health.A strong foundation of social and emotional skills will prepare children for school readiness.

Mental Health and Wellness Services include:

  • General classroom observations
  • Conscious Discipline and Second Step program training and consultation
  • Counseling and/or social skills groups
  • Parenting classes
  • Consultation with parents, guardians and staff
  • Short term family counseling
  • Referrals to community agencies
  • Information provided to families as appropriate
  • Staff training and wellness

Health Services

Three registered nurses who are the health specialists, oversee the Health and Dental needs of all enrolled children. The health specialists are available for any questions, concerns, or needs about your child's health plan. If you need help, call 239-332-2512 to speak to a nurse.

The health specialists will communicate with parents in a variety of ways:

  • to inform parents if a health problem is identified
  • to share the results of children's screenings (vision, height, weight, speech, and hearing)
  • to provide articles on nutrition, dental health and other topics in the monthly Parent Involvement Press
  • to share at parent meetings in the classrooms
  • to provide reminders of children's upcoming physicals or shots
  • to provide other health information parents request

Vision

All children are screened for vision within the first 45 days of school beginning. This is just a screening and not a complete eye exam. This screening may be repeated if necessary. If your child is having any difficulty, the nurse will complete a vision referral and send it home. However, it best for your child to begin school with a vision exam completed by an eye care physician.. The nurses will assist you in this process. The nurses' name and phone number are listed on the referral if you should have any questions.

Speech And Language Screening

As part of the screening process, children in the Head Start classrooms will have a speech and language screening within the first 45 days of school. The screening will look at how the sounds that make up words are formed and the use of words to talk. If concerns are found, children are referred to the speech therapist at the school for a closer look.

Hearing Screenings

Children in Head Start classrooms will have a hearing screening prior to the first 45 days of school by the Head Start staff. If children fail the screening, they will be re-screened at a later date. If children are unable to pass this second screening, they will be referred to their doctor for a medical hearing check-up.

Height And Weight

All children's heights and weights are measured prior to the first 45 days of school.This is to monitor their physical growth and development. As you may have heard, the Surgeon General says that there is an “Obesity Epidemic” in <st1:country-region w:st="on" style="box-sizing: border-box;">America </st1:country-region>.The research shows that overweight children often end up being overweight adults.The risk of hypertension, diabetes, and heart disease is much greater for overweight adults.

Nutrition

Your child will receive a nutritious breakfast and lunch during the school day.All meals served are low in fat, sugar and sodium (salt) and served family style.Monthly menus are made available and a copy of the menu is posted in your child's classroom.Parents are not permitted to bring any food, (home-made or store bought), into the classroom (this includes for birthdays and holiday celebrations).If your child has any food allergies or requires a medically prescribed diet, restrictions and/or supplements, please contact the Health Specialist assigned to your child's classroom.Paperwork from your child's doctor will be required for these special nutritional needs.

Dental Services

Good tooth care can protect your child's precious smile! Tooth decay is the most common disease in children in the United States and it can easily be prevented. By encouraging good tooth-care habits now, you can help your child have healthy teeth for a lifetime. PARENTS PLAY A KEY ROLE IN HELPING YOUR CHILD MAINTAIN A HEALTHY MOUTH.

Best practices encourage parents to create a dental home for their child. Young children are most comfortable with medical/dental staff when they are with their parents. Dental appointments should be made by parents and guardians. Parents are asked to obtain a copy of the treatment plan for their child's health record. Records can be given to your child's teacher who will pass the information along to the nurse. The nurses can help support you in the process if needed. You can reach them at 332-2512.

The dentist examines your child's mouth, and writes out a treatment plan that is specific to your child's dental needs. If your child has no cavities, the treatment plan will consist of a cleaning and fluoride application. If your child has decayed teeth, the treatment plan will list each tooth that needs to be worked on and how the dentist plans to fix each tooth. Sometimes, children need to be sent to a Pedodontist, (pediatric dental specialist), for extensive dental work and the parent/guardian MUST be present at these appointments.

Baby teeth are very important. They help your child eat properly, speak more clearly and they save spaces for adult (permanent) teeth. Make tooth care part of your family's routine. The children brush their teeth after meals in the classroom. We encourage parents to brush with their children before bedtime. Be a good role model. Eat healthy foods, floss and brush at least twice a day. TALK ABOUT DENTAL VISITS IN A POSITIVE WAY.

  • Project Dental Care - This FREE community dental program is for anyone nine years of age and older. Call the Health Department at 332-9516 and ask for Project Dental Care.
  • Family Health Center - Contact Family Health Centers at 332-0417. They have offices in most communities within Lee County.
  • Edison College School of Dental Hygiene - Call 985-8334 to set up an appointment for all ages. Appointments can take several hours as this is a teaching facility. There is a small fee for this service, for adults.
  • Dr. Tim Verwest - 9371-7 Cypress Lake Drive, Fort Myers, FL 33919, 239-482 2722. Dr. Verwest accepts Medicaid.
  • NCEF Pediatric Dental Center (University of Florida) 7007 Lely Cultural Parkway, Bldg. L, Naples, FL 34113, 239-775-3052. Accepts Medicaid.