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Turner applauds uni's hearing disorder study

Wednesday, 15 December 2004

Turner applauds uni's hearing disorder study

United Future health spokeswoman Judy Turner, who is pushing for an inquiry into the school vision and hearing testing programme, has welcomed an Auckland University study into how hearing disorders link to learning difficulties in children.

The university's School of Population Health will study auditory processing disorders (APD), when the ears hear but the brain doesn't process the signals properly. This often manifests in speech and language problems, reading difficulties and dyslexia.

Mrs Turner welcomed the study, saying that there needs to be much more linking of health and education.

"They are clearly not sufficiently linked. Far too often, a child's learning problems are health-related, particularly in terms of vision and hearing.

"Nationally, we need to look at how we screen for these problems, what we do with the information when we get it and how we fund screening," she said.

After revealing that 40 percent of the students at one school passed the national eye screening programme and yet were later shown to require glasses, Mrs Turner said began pushing for an inquiry into the screening programme, which targets short-sightedness and lazy eye conditions,

"It is clearly not comprehensive enough, and it may well be that that is the case with hearing testing as well. An inquiry should be looking at all of that.

"If your child comes home from school having passed sight and hearing tests, you don't question that.

"And every day that a parent or teacher operates under the mistaken belief that all is okay, is one more day that a child loses out on a good education," she said.

ENDS

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