Question:My three oldest children were all screened for vision, hearing, and scoliosis in school. Now my youngest child is going through but I was told there's no screening. What happened?
Answer:You may be seeing the results of some local decisions made by your school board or administrators to save money. There isn't a lot of evidence that these screening programs are worth the high cost. Everyone is screened but only a small number of children are actually identified with a problem.
With all the budget cuts, it may be a new cost savings measure in your local area. A similar decision was made in Canada several years ago. School nurses conducted all the scoliosis screening. When the school nursing program was cut, scoliosis screening went by the wayside.
Then a study was done to compare the results of referral patterns before and after screening was ended. They found a large number of patients were sent to a specialist unnecessarily. They did not have a problem with scoliosis. And many children were sent too late to benefit maximally from early treatment.
We suggest asking your son or daughter's pediatrician to add screening for scoliosis as past of the annual physical exam. You may want to make sure she also has her vision and hearing checked at least once between the ages of 11 and 14.Marie BeausÃ©jour, MASc, et al. Patient Characteristics at the Initial Visit to a Scoliosis Clinic. A Cross-Sectional Study in a Community Without School Screening. In Spine May 20, 2007. Vol. 32. No. 12. Pp. 1349-1354.
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