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Big Bend area parents take advantage of free toddler screenings

By 11 on Friday morning, more than 60 kids signed up for screenings at Children’s Medical Services. Ryan Benk reports, the event helps parents keep tabs on their child’s wellbeing.

After two hours of screenings with a variety of specialists, the only thing the kids here at Children’s Medical Services seem concerned with are their goodie bags. Families from around the Tallahassee area are taking advantage of free dental, vision, language, hearing, cognitive behavior, growth, and motor skills screenings.

Catie Mcrae, the Director of Florida Diagnostic Learning and Resources System, or FDLRS, says volunteers from a multitude of agencies made the event possible.

“We have about 80 volunteers here today. Our partner agencies are Children’s Medical Services, FDLRS, the Leon County School System, the Whole Child Initiative for Leon County, and there’s just many, many more.”

The Center for Disease Control estimates that less than 50 percent of children with developmental disabilities are diagnosed before they start school. It’s that percentage that Speech Pathologist Allison Caldwell says the event intends to lower.

“Today what we’re doing is coming together with our community partners and reaching out for those kids who may not have been receiving services in the community. So, our goal here today is to find those children who need services and intervention and get that started for them.”

Organizers are also stressing that the services are always free and parents should always take advantage of the many programs offered for their children at any time.