Alabama Focus First Service Reflection

Saturday, February 23rd, 2013


            While doing service with Alabama’s Focus First, I have learned many things about the importance of screening young children for possible eye problems. I have also noticed how Focus First could be improved to guarantee that children with eye problems receive the proper help.

            Focus First has made me aware that due to numerous reasons, many children go well into their teens without receiving any eye examinations. This is extremely problematic. Young children are not able to detect that they have poor vision. If the children aren’t aware they cannot tell their parents. The parents of these children may not be aware that their child has poor vision and will probably not have their eyes checked. If no one is aware of the problem, it cannot be fixed.

Also, many parents may not have the resources available to take their children to eye doctors. Focus First specializes in going to daycare centers in low economic areas so that these children will not be disadvantaged in yet another way. From doing service with Focus First, I have gone to several different daycares that are in low economic areas and are run down. In many instances it is apparent that the children that attend these daycares live in poverty or have low socio-economic standing.

Problems with vision can impair a child’s education and may result in psychological problems. If children cannot see, it greatly affects their learning ability. It can cause distractions because they cannot see the board and do not know what is going on in the classroom.

If children are not aware that they have problems with their eyes, they may blame themselves for not being competent in the classroom. This could lead to further psychological problems and low academic success. By screening young children, Focus First works to stop these problems from occurring. If the reason for low academic success is poor vision, the problem can be corrected and academic success can be accomplished.

            Although I think Focus First is a fantastic program, I think that it could be further improved. If a child is screened through Focus First and his/her results show a possible eye problem, the child is sent to a specialist with all-expenses paid. However, what about glasses? From doing research I have not learned of how these children receive the appropriate measures to correct their vision. I believe that Focus First should go a step further and provide the necessary eye wear for the children who cannot afford it. Glasses are very expensive, and many times the parents of these children cannot afford adequate glasses. It would be very beneficial if Focus First could/would provide the children with the glasses to correct their vision.

            Another problem that I have encountered with Focus First is time restraints. During screenings, we are only given a limited amount of time. This is a problem when we have to screen 150 students in such a short time. These screenings are not nearly as effective as they should be. I believe that screenings should be allowed more time and that the people completing the screenings should not be rushed. I also believe that Focus First should send someone who is more experienced with vision screenings along with the volunteers. To be honest, I had no clue what I was doing at my first screening and I only had one training session. This affects the children. These children should be given the opportunity to receive an accurate screening by someone who is confident in what they are doing.

            I believe that what Focus First stands for is a very good idea but I also think there are several problems that need to be dealt with and that the children who do have eye problems are able to receive glasses.