Health Screening Basics
Texas public, private, and charter schools are required to screen children at specific grade or age levels for certain conditions. These screenings include:
- Hearing screening
- Vision screening
- Texas Risk Assessment for Type 2 Diabetes in Children (TRAT2DC)
- Spinal screening
Being able to see and hear in the classroom is critical to student engagement and success in school. In many situations, children having difficulty seeing or hearing are not aware that a problem exists because they don't know the world any other way.
In accordance with state mandates, students in prekindergarten, kindergarten, first, third, fifth, and seventh grades undergo hearing and vision screening. Students in first, third, fifth, and seventh grades are screened for TRAT2DC. These screenings occur over the course of one or two days per campus, usually between the third week of school and Thanksgiving each year. Referrals resulting from these screenings are mailed to home addresses posted in Skyward.
- Hearing Screening
- Vision Screening
- Texas Risk Assessment for Type 2 Diabetes in Children Screening (TRAT2DC)
- Spinal Screening
The purpose of hearing screening is to identify students who may have a hearing problem. Children in prekindergarten, kindergarten, first, third, fifth, and seventh grades are screened for hearing in the fall of each year. Children who are new to the district are screened for hearing as soon as possible after enrollment.
Signs of hearing problems that may be noticed at home include frequently requesting to have things repeated; turning one side of the head toward the speaker; watching a person's lips when they are speaking; or inattentiveness to conversation or discussion. Young children who have problems with hearing may also have problems with speech and language development.
More information about hearing screening is available at the Department of State Health Services website, Hearing Screening Requirements.
The purpose of vision screening is to identify students who may have problems seeing at a distance. Children in prekindergarten, kindergarten, first, third, fifth, and seventh grades are screened for vision in the fall of each year. Children who are new to the district are screened for vision as soon as possible after enrollment.
Signs of vision problems that may be noticed at home include frequently tilting or turning the head to see; frequent or excessive blinking; frequently rubbing the eyes; closing or covering one eye to see; and, squinting or leaning in to see.
Two state approved vision screening methods are used in Mesquite ISD, vision charts and photoscreening. The HOTV vision chart is used to screen students who are not able to identify letters of the alphabet most of the time. This screening chart relies on the child's ability to match symbols on a card to symbols on the chart placed 10 feet away.
The Sloan vision chart is used to screen students who are able to identify letters of the alphabet most of the time.
Photoscreening is used to screen students in prekindergarten and kindergarten, and those students who aren't able to match symbols or to identify letters.
More information about vision screening is available at the Department of State Health Services website, Vision Screening Requirements.
The purpose for TRAT2DC screening is to assess students for the acanthosis nigricans marker which a skin condition that signals high insulin levels and is considered a risk factor for developing Type 2 Diabetes. Students are screened for the presence of acanthosis nigricans marker on the back of their neck during other mandated health screenings. The school nurse follows up with each student identified as having the acanthosis nigricans marker using criteria developed by the agency overseeing TRAT2DC screening in Texas, the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Border Health Office.
More information about TRAT2DC screening is available at the website, Border Health Office Texas Risk Assessment for Type 2 Diabetes in Children.
State spinal screening rules changed beginning in the 2018-2019 school year to require screening for female students at ages 10 and 12, and male students ages 13 or 14. The Department of State Health Services reviewed these rules and updated them in August 2018 to allow for screening of female students in fifth and seventh grades, and male students in eighth grade, with the requirement that grade level screening be held during the fall semester.
Mesquite ISD school nurses provide spinal screening for 5th grade girls, 7th grade girls, and 8th grade boys, during the fall semester each year. Parent notification is sent home with students at least two weeks prior to screening.
The Department of State Health Services allows for exemption from spinal screening for religious reasons, for spinal screening provided at the appropriate age by a licensed healthcare professional, or for students under the care of a licensed healthcare professional for one or more spinal problems.
Exemption forms are available through the school nurse or may be downloaded and printed below:
More information about spinal screening is available at the Department of State Health Services website, Spinal Screening Program.