Pandemic puts a halt on lead, neuro-psychological testing in Flint kids

Published: Jul. 24, 2020 at 4:56 PM EDT
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FLINT, Mich. (WJRT) - COVID-19 has taken a toll on just about everyone in some way, shape or form. One place you might not think of is Genesee Health System’s Neuro-developmental Center Of Excellence, where lead testing is done on children who may have been exposed to lead during the water emergency.

“It’s been a little bit more challenging because there are services that we provide that are difficult or even impossible to do without being face to face,” said Director of Children’s Services Elizabeth Burtch. ”The actual assessment that occurs, there’s multiple parts of it, we are able to do some of it over the phone.”

Lead can have a significant impact on the body. Cognitive dysfunction, impulse control, behavioral issues and emotional regulation are just a few of them. And because that full testing can’t be carried out, there’s no real way of knowing whether or not the way a child acts or performs is because of lead exposure.

“Sometimes we might not realize it. We see our child every single day, but doing this assessment can still better help us to support our kids because we’re not really sure what the long term effect for this lead exposure’s going to be,” Burtch said.

But again, parents aren’t left in the dark on this. The center is working to bridge the gap by providing support and resources for families until full testing can resume, which could be in the coming months.

“The most important thing we can do for ourselves and kids during this pandemic is really support them socially and emotionally.”

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