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Governor Laura Kelly Saturday morning issued a statewide stay-at-home order effective at 12:01 a.m. on Monday, March 30 continuing until April 19.
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Families invited to Developmental Fair; free screenings available
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Families with young children are encouraged to attend a special event that promises to provide a host of important resources and information to support local and area families, said Heather Quillin, children’s services director at Sunflower Diversified Services.

The Developmental Fair is scheduled for 3:30 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 9 at the Great Bend Public Library, 1409 Williams. The free event is designed for families with children ages birth to 5.

The Central Kansas Interagency Coordinating Council (ICC) is sponsoring the Fair during the Week of the Young Child. 

“This special week is a national observance that raises awareness about the benefits of early intervention and supports for young children,” Quillin said. “Our Developmental Fair will not only include developmental screenings, but also offer information from many agencies with great speakers and topics every 30 minutes.”

In addition, there will be children’s activities, fluoride treatments by Heart of Kansas Dental and a chance to win several giveaways.

Screenings for vision, hearing, child development and social-emotional development are available for ages birth through 35 months.

These screenings are always a priority at Sunflower Early Education Center (EEC) because “we can identify delays and disabilities early in life,” Quillin said. “The earlier we can identify problems, the earlier we can help children catch up to their milestones.

“By starting services early, they will enter school with fewer, or no delays and be ready to go,” she added.

Parents know they must take their children to the doctor and dentist, Quillin commented, noting “our screenings are comparable. They are a check-up for a child’s developmental abilities and progress.”

For example, if parents are wondering about a speech delay, a screening can provide answers. The EEC will then recommend a full evaluation, as well as strategies to help alleviate or overcome the problem. 

“Whether it is a slight delay or something more pronounced, our professional, compassionate staff can coach parents on how they can help their child every day to gain skills,” Quillin said. “We encourage everyone to have their children screened.

“In some instances, screenings show parents that their child is right on track. This results in peace of mind.”

Scheduling a screening appointment is strongly requested; the number is 620-792-4087. However, walk-ins are welcome.

Along with the screenings, agenda topics and times are:

* Early childhood oral health by Heart of Kansas Dental, 3:30 p.m.

* Picky eaters by Cottonwood District Extension, 4 p.m.

* Hidden curriculum of the home by Families Together, 4:30 p.m.

* Early signs of autism by the EEC’s Alyson Burkhart, 5 p.m.

* Mental health for families by The Center for Counseling and Consultation, 5:30 p.m.

* Benefits of investing in good parenting by Jane Heeke, 6 p.m.

* Safety with technology by the Child Advocacy Center at the Family Crisis Center, 6:30 p.m.

Approximately 15 agencies will sponsor booths; children’s activities and raffles, including one for a convertible car seat, also are on the agenda.

Free childcare for ages 2 and older will be available for siblings of children attending the developmental screenings or if parents want to attend any of the talks.