Free clinic promotes childhood development

GARDEN CITY, Kansas — Garfield Elementary’s Early Childhood Development Center works with 200 children with developmental issues.

To detect mild to serious developmental delays in other kids they offer free screenings for three to five-year-olds.

“A child who gets early intervention is more likely to be typically developing down the road,” said Mckenzie Allen an Early Childhood Teacher at Garfield.

“I struggled when I was younger, so i don’t want him to struggle,” said Jalanie Fonseca who brought her three year old in to the screening Friday.

Even when parents aren’t concerned, early screenings are encouraged.

“We’re not really worried about anything,” said Oscar Varela of his three year old.  “He does pretty well, I think.”

Early Childhood Teacher Melanie Garrison said it’s always a good idea to bring kids in.  “Just so you know they’re on target with where they’re supposed to be,” she said.

To gauge how well kids are developing teachers look at how well they interact with other kids, their speech, their hearing, and if they can identify simple shapes.  From there they decide if a child needs extra help to better prepare for their education later in life.

“They’re going to be so much more successful in Kindergarten because they’ve had a routine, they’re ready.”

If a child doesn’t need help from the Development Center teachers can help parents decide on the next step.

“I think she’s ready to start school as soon as possible,” Brian Hansberry said of his four year old daughter.

“Just to know if i’m making the right decision with him and if I’m making the right decision to get him [into school] sooner,” said Fonseca.

The school has a screening once a month and takes children by appointment, call 620.805.7500.

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