The health of Head Start and Early Head Start children is one of our primary concerns. We offer a comprehensive health service program which includes preventive screenings and exams such as, immunizations, EPSDT physical exams, vision and hearing screenings, as well as developmental and mental health screenings.
Pregnant women are assisted with obtaining comprehensive prenatal and postpartum health care immediately following enrollment. A current physical examination and dental examination is obtained to assess the well-being of the expectant mother and fetus. We work closely with families and community partners to ensure our families have access to accessible, continuous, comprehensive, and family centered medical care for years to come.
Oral Health Services
Head Start takes a very active role in dental preventive services and promoting oral health care by working with our children and families to emphasize the importance of establishing good oral health habits at an early age and maintaining them throughout life. Children receive comprehensive dental exam every 6 months, including fluoride application. Children and their parents are educated in effective dental hygiene practices, including age and development level of the child and their ability to clean their teeth properly, and recommended dental frequency. Oral health education is completed by staff, and outside collaborative agencies through workshops throughout the year.
All children receive screenings within 45 days of enrollment for hearing and vision. Hearing is the primary learning modality of speech. The Otoacoustic Emissions devise is used to identify hearing loss that may influence language development. The OAE devise is most appropriate for EHS children (including newborns) because it requires no response from the child. Language barriers and special needs populations can be effectively screened. Head Start vision screenings are performed in partnership with The Prevention of Blindness Society. EHS vision screenings are performed using an observational tool created with pediatricians, to help identify gross disturbances in vision such as strabismus.
During the enrollment process we determine if your child has an on-going source of medical and dental care. Our Family Services Staff will help to link families with community health resources including Inova Partnership for Healthy kids, WIC programs, Inova Cares Clinic for Pregnant Women and Children and local health departments.
All medical documents are assessed by a registered nurse. If it is determined that your child has special medical needs, such as medications (while he/she is at school), an individualized health action plan will be developed for your child. This medical action plan is written in coordination with you and your child’s physician to ensure seamless delivery of care.
Pregnant women are served in our EHS program. We promote preconception care and empower women to value their health as a means to improving birth outcomes. Higher Horizons recognizes that breastfeeding is important for optimal child health and development. We provide culturally competent information about breastfeeding and empower women with the skills and confidence necessary to successfully breastfeed.
Higher Horizons has joined the National initiative to prevent obesity. We participated in a pilot study conducted by UCLA and The Johnson / Johnson HCI to educate families on nutrition and diabetes prevention.