March 8, 2002
Volume XXXV, No. 10

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Health Science Center faculty, students reach out to Del Rio children

PHOTO (Back row L-R) Alison Beck, assistant professor of OT, and students Candida Herrera, Monique Navarro, Amanda Gonzales, Clarissa Castro, (front row L-R) Leandra Estrada, San Felipe Del Rio Head Start health specialist Norma Rivera, and Dr. Karin Barnes, associate professor of OT, and Luisa Lopez get together at the San Felipe Del Rio Head Start playground.

Members of the occupational therapy (OT) department have teamed up with the Del Rio Head Start program to help give children a positive beginning in school.

Dr. Karin Barnes, associate professor of OT, and Alison Beck, assistant professor of OT, and 12 master of occupational therapy students traveled to the San Felipe Del Rio Head Start program to screen children there for motor and cognitive deficits.

The testing successfully determines the children's abilities in the areas of pencil use, balance, motor planning, problem solving and visual perception. The tests were presented in the form of games that the children enjoyed playing.

"For the past three years our students have had the opportunity to travel to El Paso to experience the challenges of pediatric test administration in the preschool setting," Dr. Barnes said. "The San Felipe Del Rio Head Start program and funds from the South Texas Border Initiative have made this hands-on learning possible for our students."

Upon their return to San Antonio, Dr. Barnes and Beck assisted the OT students in preparing the screening results and recommendations, which are used to further evaluate the children when they enter kindergarten.

Norma Rivera, health specialist for the Del Rio Head Start program, said the service and information the Health Science Center faculty members and students provide each year is invaluable.

"Because of the Health Science Center's OT program, our Head Start children receive a vital service that certainly helps them to grow and develop into healthy schoolchildren," Rivera said.


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