Friday, August 17, 2018
Education

Sertoma foundation helps with early identification of hard-of-hearing children

NEW PORT RICHEY — The handwritten sign on the portable classroom door says "Quiet Please." That can be a difficult task for antsy youngsters who are lined up along an outdoor walkway at Mittye P. Locke Elementary School.

Inside, where conversation is kept to whispers, Peggy Macedi, 77, a volunteer with the Sertoma Speech and Hearing Foundation, gestures for the next kid to come forward — a tow-headed kindergartner with a sweet disposition named Caden Graham.

Macedi is going to put a set of headphones on, she tells him, speaking gently into his ear. And when he hears the beep, he should raise his hand.

The test takes a minute or two. Then, Caden, 5, is sent on his way with a quick smile and sticker in hand.

This is worthy work for Macedi. She wears a hearing aid and knows what's it's like not to be able to catch a conversation.

"We've been able to help so many children who didn't pass the test," said Macedi, who signed on after entering retirement 10 years ago because her grandmother was a deaf/mute and because she just likes working with kids. "Anything we do for the kids is wonderful, I think."

For 18 years, the nonprofit Sertoma foundation has conducted hearing screenings for kindergarten and sixth-grade students, as well as for those who are new to the counties the foundation serves. At Locke Elementary, it was part of an all-day health screening for students in kindergarten through Grade 3.

Last year, Sertoma staffers and volunteers administered hearing screenings for more than 16,000 Pasco County students at 74 schools, said executive director Debra Golinski.

"Early detection is the key to success for these kids. The earlier we catch it, the earlier we can amplify them and help get them to services they need, the quicker they are on the path to success," Golinski said. "Children sometimes are harder to diagnose because they are good at compensating.

"A few years ago, we identified a child that was completely deaf in one ear but had learned to compensate so well that know one knew. We were able to identify him and get him on the right path," she said, adding that students who fail the initial screening are rescreened by a speech language pathologist and connected with services at the Sertoma Hearing and Speech Center on Rowan Road.

Educational and financial assistance for services is provided on a sliding scale to families with minor children, from newborn to 18 years of age in Florida, through the Sertoma Children's Hearing Help Fund. Services include hearing evaluations, loaner hearing devices, permanent hearing devices and the ongoing maintenance and replacement of devices, if necessary.

Other services include a hearing aid recycling program and a hearing aid battery giveaway for adults, a family support group and a swimming safety program for hard-of-hearing children.

Sertoma has taken the screenings on the road, literally, after the August purchase of a mobile screening and audiology services van, complete with a soundproof room, to take to local day care centers. Plans are in the works to take the van into rural areas to provide services to those who are destitute or residentially challenged, Golinski said.

"We're growing and expanding services with the van in 23 (Florida) counties," she said. "It's a big initiative, but we are happy to do it."

Comments
Florida girl denied school lunch because she was 15 cents short, mother says

Florida girl denied school lunch because she was 15 cents short, mother says

A sophomore at University High School in Volusia County was denied lunch on her first day of school Tuesday because she owed 15 cents, according to WKMG in Orlando.The girl’s mother, Kimberly Aiken, told WKMG a cashier in the school’s lunchroom threw...
Published: 08/16/18
Candidates for Hernando’s District 3 School Board seat talk mental health, technical education

Candidates for Hernando’s District 3 School Board seat talk mental health, technical education

As Hernando County School Board member Beth Narverud makes her run for a spot on the County Commission, three hopefuls are running to fill her District 3 seat.One is Jimmy Lodato, a Tampa native and 19-year Hernando resident. Retired from a career in...
Published: 08/15/18
Updated: 08/16/18
Brooksville pastor challenges longtime principal trying for reelection to Hernando’s District 5 School Board seat

Brooksville pastor challenges longtime principal trying for reelection to Hernando’s District 5 School Board seat

Hernando County School Board District 5 incumbent Susan Duval seconded the motion to fire superintendent Lori Romano on June 12. And that’s why Joe Santerelli said he filed to run against her about a week later.A week after that, the local pastor spo...
Published: 08/15/18
Updated: 08/16/18
Corbett Prep marks 50th year with compassionate stories, family love

Corbett Prep marks 50th year with compassionate stories, family love

TAMPA — Sammi Borosh sat Tuesday afternoon in one of those tiny chairs for kindergartners and looked across the table at four of her former teachers — and her eyes misted.Borosh said she loved those four ladies and she loved the school where they tau...
Published: 08/15/18
Incumbent chairman and newcomer battle for Hernando’s District 1 School Board seat

Incumbent chairman and newcomer battle for Hernando’s District 1 School Board seat

Mark Johnson was elected to the Hernando County School Board in 2014. He said his successful track record, combined with local business savvy, make him the clear choice over Catherine "Kay" Hatch for the District 1 seat."It’s not just an opportunity ...
Published: 08/15/18
For this Marjory Stoneman Douglas student, start of school is ‘beginning of the end’

For this Marjory Stoneman Douglas student, start of school is ‘beginning of the end’

Barbara Ojago saw her grandson’s first day back at school as the beginning of the end.Her grandson, Emea, will finish his senior year at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland. But Emea returns to a school forever changed by a former student he pe...
Published: 08/15/18
Pinellas plans new arts and gifted magnet schools in north county

Pinellas plans new arts and gifted magnet schools in north county

Next school year, if all goes according to plan, two new programs will expand the slate of options for Pinellas County elementary students — a conservatory for the arts in Clearwater and a gifted center in Palm Harbor.The programs, which will go befo...
Published: 08/15/18
Report card on ousted Hernando schools superintendent shows little change from last year

Report card on ousted Hernando schools superintendent shows little change from last year

BROOKSVILLE — Two months after firing superintendent Lori Romano, the Hernando County School Board on Tuesday reviewed results of a second district-wide survey to evaluate her performance, finding that little changed from last year.Romano’s overall a...
Published: 08/15/18

Pasco schools don’t plan to move teachers over state scores

Florida school districts recently received their teachers’ state "value-added" scores, and some scrambled to reassign those who got poor marks out of schools in turnaround status.But Pasco County wasn’t one of them, despite state rules relating to pe...
Published: 08/15/18
Hillsborough schools will begin disclosing more data about lead in drinking water

Hillsborough schools will begin disclosing more data about lead in drinking water

TAMPA ­­— The Hillsborough County School District will begin publicly disclosing all locations where it finds lead in schools’ water, not just the samples that tested highest, an official said Tuesday.Detailed results from the testing lab could begin...
Published: 08/14/18