Worried about the development of a young child? Help is here.

On Friday, Sept. 15, at United Methodist Church in Dodge City, a free developmental screening is set for children up to age 5.

Appointments are necessary and can be made by calling (620) 371-1061. Spanish interpreters are available.

"It’s very important for children to be screened when they are young," said Erica DeAnda-Soltero, Arrowhead West Infant-Toddler Service Manager. "A person learns 90 percent of what they know in the first 3 years, so it’s important to make sure children are OK."

Areas to be screened include concepts, motor skills, social development, speech, hearing and vision. Officials will also be on hand to talk about immunizations, physical and nutritional information.

"I’d say at least 75 percent of the children we screen have no issues at all," DeAnda-Soltero said. "But, it’s important we see all children because the earlier we catch something, the sooner we can work with the family and child."

DeAnda-Soltero made sure to point out that even if an issue is discovered, it doesn’t mean lifetime association with Arrowhead West.

"We get a stigma — a bad rap — because of what Arrowhead West does," she said. "But if the screening sees a developmental issue like not walking after 14 months, or a vision or hearing issue, which would slow down development, we can address those and hopefully the child catches up and we are no longer involved.

"People worry we’re just about disabled people, but we’re not and we’ll do everything we can to help any child."

According to information provided by Arrowhead West, 28 screenings — including two in Dodge City — were held in the 13-county service area. There were 426 children who received screenings. Arrowhead West has a team of screeners, including a speech-language pathologist, physical therapist, early intervention nurse, early intervention social worker and early childhood special educators.

Cost of the screening on Friday is free. If an issue is discovered officials will meet with parents to recommend follow-up care. Agencies participating include Arrowhead West, Southwest Kansas Area Cooperative District, Compass Behavior Health and USD 443.


Contact the writer at rbluhm@dodgeglobe.com.