Amanda Kaestner is a writer for the Gannett Company and recently got in touch with me asking if she could write an article for my blog about Health Checks and Visits for Middle Schoolers. Whether you are a parent, a counselor, or a teacher the following has some great info to help students keep them safe and healthy, both for themselves and others, and to make sure kids are at their best for learning.
A healthy developing body is an important component to your child's success in school and regular checkups are the best way to make sure your child won't be held
back by health problems in the future. Middle school students go through many physical changes as they transition into adolescence, making it an important time to check in and make sure everything is on track. Here are a few things you and your family doctor should be checking for.
1. Scoliosis Screening
In just about every middle school nationwide, a standard screening for early detection of scoliosis will help identify spinal deformities in students. These deformities may
cause the student pain and discomfort and can also limit their abilities in the future if their spine’s curvation gets out of hand. The early screening procedure for scoliosis is quick, painless and only requires a student to bend forward while an observer looks on to ensure they don’t see any unnatural curvation of the spine. If anything is found to be unusual during the screening, it’s not necessarily a positive diagnosis for scoliosis. A follow-up examination with a specialist will be necessary to determine whether or not scoliosis is present. With early detection and early treatment, the progression of scoliosis can be stopped and, in some cases, even reversed.
2. Dental Health Examination
Middle school is the popular period in which you often see student smiles with a set of fresh braces. By this time, all adult teeth have officially set in, so early maintenance of
their matured smiles is vital. The NYC Department of Health states that nearly one in three elementary and middle school students have untreated tooth decay. This can lead
to infection, tooth loss, and difficulty eating if left untreated. Most dental problems can be prevented with routine care and establishing good habits now that can lead to a lifetime of excellent oral health.
Family dental experts at Advance Dentistry advise that getting your student regular dental checkups at least twice a year, at minimum, will help spot problems early on while they are still small and easily corrected.
3. Vision and Hearing Screening
Even if a student has never shown signs of hearing or vision loss in their elementary years, standard vision and hearing screenings, often run by the school at the beginning of the school year, help to catch any signs of changes or deterioration. Impaired hearing or vision can take a serious toll on a student’s ability to learn and keep up with curriculum. Students may not know or be able to communicate to others if they cannot hear or see well. Vision and hearing screening throughout childhood and adolescence can spot problems early before they interfere with your child's ability to participate in the classroom.
As a parent of a middle school student, ensure that their health records are up to date. Most health screenings are already performed by the school itself, such as the scoliosis, vision and hearing tests as mentioned previously. But you should be taking your child to regular dental and doctor checkups, especially at this time in their lives when they’re undergoing immense maturation. With simple checkup like these, you’ll be able to ensure your middle school student is ready to take on their learning with a healthy mind and body.