Vision and Hearing
As part of Health and Safety Code, Chapter 36, the Vision Screening Program requires that all children enrolled for the first time in any public, private, parochial, or denominational school or in a Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) licensed child care center and licensed child care home in Texas, or who meet certain grade criteria, must be screened or have a professional examination for possible vision and hearing problems.
The requirements for vision screening [PDF 584KB] apply each year for children enrolled in any licensed child care center and licensed child care home or school program at the ages or grades listed below:
- Children who turn 4-years-old by September 1, kindergartners or any other first-time entrants (4 years* through 12th grade) - screening must be done within 120 days of admission
- 1st, 3rd, 5th and 7th graders - screening must be done anytime within the school year
The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) Spinal Screening Program was established by the Texas Legislature to detect abnormal spinal curvature in students.
School-based spinal screening helps to identify adolescents with abnormal spinal curves and refer them for appropriate follow-up by their primary care physician. Screening can detect scoliosis at an early stage, when the curve is mild and may go unnoticed. Early detection is key to controlling spinal deformities.
In compliance with Health and Safety Code, Chapter 37, all children shall undergo screening for abnormal spinal curvature in accordance with the following schedule:
- Girls will be screened two times, once at age 10 (or fall semester of grade 5) and again at age 12 (or fall semester of grade 7).
- Boys will be screened one time at age 13 or 14 (or fall semester of grade 8).
It is incumbent on schools to identify outliers (i.e., children promoted to higher grades or held back) and ensure their screenings align with appropriate ages rather than grades.
Acanthosis Nigricans Screening
The Texas Risk Assessment for Type 2 Diabetes in Children is a legislatively mandated program developed, coordinated, and administrated by The University of Texas Pan-American Border Health Office (BHO). The program assesses children who may be at high risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes in Texas Education Agency Regional Education Service Centers 1, 2, 3, 4, 10, 11, 13, 15, 18, 19, and 20. During vision/hearing and scoliosis screenings of 1st, 3rd, 5th, and 7th graders in public and private schools, certified individuals assess children for the acanthosis nigricans marker, a skin condition that signals high insulin levels. Children who are positively identified with the marker undergo additional assessments of body mass index (BMI), BMI percentile, and blood pressure. Referrals are issued to the parents of these children, alerting each parent of their child's risk factors and encouraging further evaluation from a health professional. Becoming aware of and understanding what the risk factors suggest can help stimulate the changes necessary to prevent or delay future health problems for children at risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes and other conditions.