THE ABOVE DOCUMENT DESCRIBES THE HEALTH SERVICES REQUIRED BY ALL PENNSYLVANIA SCHOOLS
The School Health Law requires dental examinations for children in grades K or 1, 3, and 7. These groups were selected because they represent critical periods of growth and development in a child’s life.
We are recommending that these examinations be done by your dentist since he can best evaluate your child’s dental health and assist you in obtaining necessary treatments and corrections.
It is important that the school have a record of a child’s dental health status. Most children have summer dental examinations by their family dentist. If you expect your child to have such an examination in the summer, please obtain a form from the school nurse at your child’s building and have it completed by the examining dentist. (Forms are also available on this website.) This can be done anytime before September1.
The dentist that performs examinations at Bedford Middle School and Bedford Elementary School is Dr. Bill Stiffler.
Pennsylvania State Law mandates that a health examination be submitted for all students in kindergarten, 6th and 11th grades as well as new students into those grades.
You may have the examination done by your private physician or by the school physician. If performed by the school’s physician, the examination will include an abdominal check for boys and girls. We recommend your child have a physical performed by his or her private physician since that medical professional knows your child best.
If you prefer your private physician perform the examination, a Private Physician Form is available from the school nurse or can be downloaded from the School Health Forms web site. Payment for the private physician’s exam is the responsibility of the parent or guardian.
Physical Examinations are done by Dr. Ruth Jones at all schools in the BASD.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT SCOLIOSIS
The Pennsylvania Department of Health has adopted regulations requiring each child in grades 6 and 7 to be screened for scoliosis. The screening applies also to appropriate age children (11 and 12) in ungraded classes in other school situations.
WHAT IS SCOLIOSIS?
- Scoliosis is a lateral and rotary curve of the spine.
- Normally the spine is straight when viewed from the back. In scoliosis, the spine twists to the side.
WHAT ARE THE CAUSES OF SCOLIOSIS?
- IDIOPATHIC– A curve that has no known cause. Seventy percent of all scoliosis detected is idiopathic.
- CONGENITAL– A birth defect of the spine, which occurs during the development of the body.
- NEUROMUSCULAR– A curve, which results from a muscular imbalance in the back.
- Injury to the spine.
HOW IS SCOLIOSIS USUALLY DETECTED?
A family member may notice a high shoulder or hip, a protrusion on one side of the back or chest, difficulty in fitting slacks, or an uneven hem. These findings could indicate bad posture, but they might also suggest scoliosis.
DURING A PHYSICAL EXAMINATION BY A PHYSICIAN.
The “Forward Bending Test” is a simple way to detect scoliosis. It can be done in less than a minute, and may be performed by a child’s family member or a health professional.
Scoliosis should be detected before the curve progresses far enough to be noticed in the above ways. Many times, if detected before the child reaches full bone growth, the curve can be reduced or kept from increasing without surgery. Annual screening programs held in many school districts, are one of the best ways of early scoliosis detection.
THE SIMPLE FORWARD BENDING TEST
When the child is in the standing position:
- Are the shoulders level?
- Are the hips level?
- Is one shoulder blade more prominent?
- Are there unequal distances between the arms and body?
- Does the spine appear curved?
Have the child bend forward:
Is there a prominent hump on one side of the back when the child is bending forward?
WHO IS MOST LIKELY TO HAVE IDIOPATHIC SCOLIOSIS?
Severe scoliosis occurs in girls more frequently than boys.
Scoliosis is usually detected in the early stages around the age of all (6thgrade). Many children by that age are not taken for regular physical exams.
Scoliosis is not rare. Many people are never aware that they have scoliosis. At the onset it is difficult to determine which cases will progress. Therefore, it is recommended that every person suspected of having a curve be examined by a physician.
CAN SCOLIOSIS BE CURED?
There are no miracle cures for scoliosis. It can be effectively controlled and even corrected to some extent. Correction depends on many factors, among them age of the child, cause and the severity of the curve, and how soon treatment is begun. Mild scoliosis may progress until the child stops growing. Moderate and severe deformities may continue to progress even after the skeleton has stopped growing and may require follow up examination throughout life. Early indication and treatment will produce the best end results.
IS SCOLIOSIS HEREDITARY?
There is a tendency for idiopathic scoliosis to occur in families. If one case is diagnosed, it is a good practice to have other family members checked.
WHAT ARE THE PROBLEMS OF UNTREATED SCOLIOSIS?
- Pressure on vital organs (most commonly the heart and lungs), decreasing their capacity later in life.
- Back and joint pain later in life.
- Decreased flexibility to perform skilled tasks.
- Changes in appearance that can lead to emotional and psychological problems.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN ONE IS REFERRED
FOR FOLLOW-UP AS POSSIBLY HAVING SCOLIOSIS?
The Forward Bending Test shows only the possibility of a curve being present. A physician must then examine the back. X-rays of the back, taken in a standing position, may be used to make a definite diagnosis.
EARLY DETECTION AND TREATMENT IS THE KEY TO POSSIBLE PREVENTION OF SERIOUS SPINAL DEFORMITIES.
For further information:
Common Wealth of Pennsylvania
Department of Health
School Health Programs
P.O. Box 90
Harrisburg, Pa. 17108