Op-ed from The Hill
Jan 19, 2016
Poor educational attainment has its roots in early childhood, with many children not adequately prepared to read at grade level in the early elementary years. There are many reasons for less than optimal academic performance, but too often among these reasons are health conditions that have been unrecognized or under-managed.
These conditions, referred to in our report as “Health Barriers to Learning” (HBLs), include the following: uncontrolled asthma, uncorrected vision problems, unaddressed hearing loss, dental problems, persistent hunger, certain untreated mental health and behavioral problems, and effects of lead exposure. Left untreated or under-managed, HBLs can adversely affect children’s ability to see, hear and pay attention in the classroom, their ability and motivation to learn, their attendance, their academic performance, and even their chances of graduating from high school. These particular HBLs have been identified due to their prevalence, evidence of their link to learning, and availability of effective screening and treatment approaches.