Friday, June 22, 2018
News Roundup

ECC's screening program a story worth hearing

My mom used to tell everyone I didn't really talk as a toddler.

Me? Not talking? Yeah, I also struggled to believe it.

Naturally, she worried about my reluctance to utter words and took me to the doctor more than once. He insisted, however, I just didn't have much to say.

Erika Lindsey received similar advice about her son two years ago. Cooper, who is 2 1/2, didn't say much and even though some said he would talk when he was ready, she and her husband, Robert, grew concerned.

"I wasn't horribly worried, but I was worried," said Lindsey. "Everybody said, 'Kids talk at different ages, he's just not ready.' The pediatrician never saw anything, but we later learned they wouldn't have been able to see it."

A serendipitous moment emerged to make all difference for Cooper. A friend asked Lindsey, a business banking manager for Chase, if she would be interested in serving on the board for the Early Childhood Council of Hillsborough County.

He said she would be an ideal candidate. Was she ever.

After joining the board, Lindsey learned about the council's developmental screening program. She decided to have doctors put Cooper through the battery of tests.

"It's an emotional evaluation and a physical checklist," said Lindsey, now board president for the council. "They measure for emotional milestones, physical milestones. It's a good 2 1/2 hours. It's a hard day.

"It's like having five different doctors' appointments in one setting."

The long day proved worthy. Doctors determined that Cooper suffered from a 95 percent hearing loss that the pediatrician missed because his ears appeared clear but were really blocked.

"Unless you're directly in front of his face, he can't hear you," Lindsey said.

They made the diagnosis on a Friday and Cooper had surgery to insert tubes in his ears the following Monday.

After surgery, he went through a series of infections and his immune system regressed. Eventually, however, he began to work with a speech therapist.

Today, two years later, he talks up a storm.

"You should hear some of the words he uses," Lindsey said, beaming. "He has a huge vocabulary. He didn't really speak until he was 3. Up until the last six months, he was still difficult to understand."

Lindsey feels fortunate, knowing that not every child who goes through similar situations progresses so rapidly.

According to the council, less than half of children who suffer from developmental or behavioral disabilities or speech and language delays are identified as having a problem before school.

When a child begins kindergarten and immediately falls behind because problems have gone untreated, it potentially puts him on a path to a lifetime of challenges.

The council's developmental screening program, in partnership with the Florida Diagnostic and Learning Resources System, annually provides free screening for developmental delays or problems with behavior to approximately 1,800 children up to age 5.

The council also works to help children get needed support after the diagnosis.

Lindsey crystallized the advantages yielded by screening in her story, which she shared at the council's recent spring luncheon. But, she says, "I don't think enough people know about us or our services."

Every parent should be aware of how the screening can change the life of a child. Every mom and dad needs to hear Cooper's story.

That's all I'm saying.

Comments
At a Mexican shelter, migrants who fled death threats prepare for ‘zero tolerance’ at the border

At a Mexican shelter, migrants who fled death threats prepare for ‘zero tolerance’ at the border

PIEDRAS NEGRAS, Mexico — In Honduras, their lives were surrounded by death.Lourdes Cruz had just started a new job when the maras, the deadly gangs plaguing Central America, demanded half of her paycheck. She quit her job, but they found her number a...
Updated: 10 minutes ago

Forecast: Muggy and hot with a chance of rain for Pride festivities

As the first weekend of summer swings in, it appears Tampa Bay should expect more heat, humidity and a chance of afternoon showers.Increased moisture in the Gulf of Mexico will result in scattered showers and isolated storms for coastal areas of Tamp...
Updated: 2 hours ago
The Daystarter: The Jameis Winston fallout; from CIA agents to minivan drivers; Pride comes back together in 2018

The Daystarter: The Jameis Winston fallout; from CIA agents to minivan drivers; Pride comes back together in 2018

Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what to know today.   • Get ready for a wet morning as the forecast calls for scattered showers and storms to start the day. There could even be thundershowers and lightning out there, according to...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Boy George, coming to Tampa with Culture Club, talks fame, Pulse and the term ‘LGBTQ’

Boy George, coming to Tampa with Culture Club, talks fame, Pulse and the term ‘LGBTQ’

It’ll still be June when Boy George arrives in Florida this week to kick off a summer U.S. tour with Culture Club. But the LGBTQ icon says it won’t feel quite like a Pride parade. "I also bake cakes for straight people," he laughed. "Tha...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Pride divided no more: St. Pete Pride comes back together

Pride divided no more: St. Pete Pride comes back together

ST. PETERSBURG — The 16th annual St. Pete Pride Parade is getting ready to march along the downtown waterfront the second straight year. But many hope to move past the division caused last year when the parade was uprooted from its original hom...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Florida eliminates Texas Tech at College World Series, faces Arkansas for title-round spot

Florida eliminates Texas Tech at College World Series, faces Arkansas for title-round spot

OMAHA, Neb. — JJ Schwarz hit a two-run homer and Florida built enough cushion to survive Texas Tech's six-run outburst over the seventh and eighth innings to eliminate the Red Raiders from the College World Series with a 9-6 win Thursday night....
Updated: 9 hours ago
Carlton: Could anything be more partisan than going nonpartisan?

Carlton: Could anything be more partisan than going nonpartisan?

So Hillsborough County commissioners — most of them, anyway — want voters to consider dropping political parties from certain elections, making those races nonpartisan instead.This would mean when you go to vote in those elections, you won’t know if ...
Published: 06/22/18
Joe Henderson: Hillsborough teachers have come to depend on foundation’s free supplies

Joe Henderson: Hillsborough teachers have come to depend on foundation’s free supplies

We have all heard stories about public school teachers reaching into their own pockets so their students will have basic classroom supplies.It goes on throughout the system because budgets are tight. The money allotted for pencils, markers, notebooks...
Published: 06/22/18
Kids find refugee from the street at Sulphur Springs day camp

Kids find refugee from the street at Sulphur Springs day camp

Last summer, Taem’ari Merrell spent much of her time on the couch watching YouTube.This summer, the 10-year-old is learning how to make videos.DeAndre Felton filled his 2017 summer schedule by reading comic books. But now, the 10-year-old spends days...
Published: 06/22/18
For sale: A Tampa Bay area elementary school where you can eat tacos and buy wine

For sale: A Tampa Bay area elementary school where you can eat tacos and buy wine

ST. PETERSBURG — For sale: a 104-year-old elementary school with restaurant and wine shop. It even has a title company where you can close the deal.Less than a year after completing a major renovation of the historic North Ward school, developer Jona...
Updated: 21 minutes ago