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UBC Theses and Dissertations

A descriptive study of a screening clinic for 3-year-olds Myers, Dorothy Rae


A community health unit in a British Columbia suburb established a screening clinic for 3-year-olds modelled on similar programs already operating in nearby localities. The purpose of the study was to describe this new screening clinic: to report on the procedures employed, the personnel involved, the characteristics of the clientele, and the types, incidence, and disposition of problems detected amongst the children brought to the clinic. The study population consisted of the 47 children and their parents who were the clients of the clinic during its first three months. The research instruments were original questionnaires and forms devised to obtain sociological and health history information. The forms were completed during a home visit and by a telephone interview with each family. The data are arranged in frequency tables and percentages calculated where appropriate. A few variables are cross-tabulated to add descriptive depth to the study. The families in the study were from the middle and upper-middle class segment of society. They had frequently used other health resources in the community. The mothers' main concerns were about speech and language development and behavior problems of their children. Twenty-four children were referred by the clinic staff for 39 problems requiring retesting, further investigation, or intervention. Twelve of these referrals were for problems of vision, 10 for behavior, 6 for speech and language, 3 each for hearing, nutrition, and dental health, and 2 for physical developmental delay. The children cooperated enthusiastically in the test procedures and their parents found the clinic to be reassuring and a valuable learning experience. The parents were willing to comply with the referrals, but some delays in the follow-up procedures were noted, due to the newness of the clinic. The screening clinic for 3-year-olds appears to be filling a previously unmet need in the community. Community health workers involved in planning and promoting new services should find the detailed descriptions of the procedures and of the clientele of the clinic useful to them. The extensive bibliography provides a background of published material on the rationale and result of a variety of methods of screening. Comparison with similar clinics in other areas will be impossible until terminology used, test procedures employed, and methods of reporting results are standardized. Meanwhile, the clinic staff should continue to maintain statistical evidence of the results obtained and to evaluate the procedures used in its program.

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