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Vision Screening to Detect Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

WHEREAS, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) occurs more frequently in school-aged children than it is being diagnosed; and

WHEREAS, 70 percent of TBIs result in vision impairment. At the 2009 NAACP National Convention in New York City, a health resolution was adopted concerning Vision Screening to Prevent Recidivism, and subsequently, at the 2010 National Convention in Kansas, the NAACP adopted a resolution entitled "Vision Screening for Children and Learning to Create Awareness," and the Maryland legislature successfully passed the Atticus Act on improving parent vision education and vision screenings; and

WHEREAS, TBI can be a detriment to a child's health, education, safety, and quality of life; and

WHEREAS, early detection of a TBI, whether congenital or occurring after birth may initiate a child receiving intervention therapies that can assist them in overcoming obstacles; and

WHEREAS, according to the National Center for Children's Vision and Eye Health only 16 U.S. States require vision screenings in preschool-age children; and

WHEREAS, visual rehabilitation has been effective in treating oculomotor dysfunction from TBI according to Walter Reed Vision Center of Excellence but limited insurance coverage prevents access to this effective rehabilitation treatment, and the Department of Defense has developed a community of interest consisting of clinical subject matter experts to fully evaluate the effectiveness of vision therapy and orthoptics for coverage under the TRICARE program; and

WHEREAS, America is essentially incarcerating disabled persons because of the government's unwillingness or inability to provide them services. Research shows 70 percent of incarcerated youth, 64 percent of incarcerated adult males and 75 percent of incarcerated adult females have a TBI, an injury that could be caught through a vision screening; and

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the NAACP advocates that the TBI screening is conducted in screening in preschool-age children in all 50 states and shall advocate for state and federal legislation to increase access to treatment, eye exams, and visual rehabilitation; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that the NAACP advocate that all State and Local juvenile detention centers or incarceration facilities to provide vision and hearing screenings to all juveniles prior to trial so that the results can inform the pretrial report and the presentencing report of a convicted person.

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