Helping Children See More of What They’re Learning

City Connects

We know that good healthcare helps students do better in school.

But it’s tough for many children in our schools to get access to eye doctors who can provide the vision screening and services that children need.

And because children won’t always say that they can’t see the board, sometimes teachers and our City Connects site coordinators have to spot the clues: a child who is always looking down or who may be squinting.

So, it was an honor last month when City Connects was recognized as an “Esteemed Community Partner” by Children’s Vision Massachusetts, a coalition of “parents, nurses, pediatricians, educators, public health professionals, optometrists and ophthalmologists.”

We were recognized at the coalition’s Eastern Massachusetts Summit, which was held at the Boston Children’s Museum.

As the coalition points out, a National Institutes of Health-funded study “has shown that uncorrected farsightedness in preschool children is associated with significantly worse performance on a test of early literacy.”

“This study suggests that an untreated vision problem in preschool, in this case one that makes it harder for children to see things up-close, can create literacy deficits that affect grade school readiness,” Dr. Maryann Redford, a program director in Collaborative Clinical Research at the National Eye Institute, said in January.

In other words, something as basic as eye care — an easy and affordable service — can help students thrive.

That’s why City Connects works to link children to eye care services such as New England Eye’s mobile vision unit. This is one part of a larger commitment to boosting children’s access to an array of health services.  During the 2014-15 school year, City Connects linked students in Springfield, Mass., to more than 1,200 health and medical services.

Among these high numbers is City Connect’s customized, signature approach: Get the right services to the right child at the right time.



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