The Pittsburg County Health Department’s Child Guidance Center is now open and ready to help children — not only children in Pittsburg County, but those in surrounding counties as well.

With a number of Child Guidance Centers closed across the state, children in Pittsburg County and other counties in the area now have access to a variety of services not available everywhere.

Kicking off with the new year, the Pittsburg County Health Department now has a team of three in place to offer services:

 • Child Development Specialist Donna Engleman

• Psychologist Clinician Mary Greene

• Speech and language pathologist Melissa Byrum.

“We are the Southeast Regional Guidance Team,” Engleman said. The next nearest county health departments with similar teams are in Poteau and Durant, she said.

Services begin with an evaluation of child to see what’s needed.

“We’ll do an evaluation and see where the child is and compare that to where it should be,” Greene said.

Services available not only vary with each specialist, but also according to a child’s age. For example, as a speech pathologist, Byrum will be seeing children from 2 and 1/2 to 13 years old on speech issues, with treatment available for speech and language disorders. Some services are available for even younger children, including hearing testing for newborns.

“If there’s a hearing problem, we refer the child to an audiologist,” she said.

Greene said she provides mental health services for children and their families. That includes therapy for families which may have adjustment issues related to military deployment of a parent or family member.

Services are available for other issues as well.

Child Development services include an initial screening.

“We do a screening to let us know where a child is developmentally,” Engleman said.

Services are available not only for children, but for parents, too. A parenting class will begin on Wednesday, from 1 until 2:30 p.m., and continue once a week for 10 weeks.

Subjects covered include guidance techniques, discipline and communication skills.

The class is open to “anyone that’s expecting, plans to be a parent or is a parent,” Engleman said. If someone is interested in taking the class “Just show up on January 19,” she said.

Engleman said she can also provide service to parents who are going through the court system and trying to regain custody of their children through the state Department of Human Services.

Anyone needing more information can contact the Pittsburg County Health Department at  918 423-1267.

Contact James Beaty at jbeaty@mcalesternews.com.

For more on this story, see Monday’s print edition of the McAlester News-Capital.

POST LOCAL NEWS AT 5:30 P.M.

AGRICULTURE

FSA reminds products of approaching deadline

From submitted reports

Pittsburg/Latimer/McIntosh County Farm Service Agency Executive Director Carl Patterson reminds livestock owners who had disaster-related losses in 2010 to visit the county FSA office before Jan. 31 to file an application for payment through the Livestock Indemnity Program.

The program provides assistance to eligible livestock

owners and contract growers for eligible livestock deaths in excess of normal mortality due to adverse weather including losses due to floods, blizzards, disease, wildfires, extreme heat and extreme cold.

 For 2010 losses, producers must file a notice of loss no later than 30 calendar days of when the loss of livestock is apparent. A notice of loss can be reported to the office by phone, fax, or e-mail.  Eligible livestock deaths must have occurred in the calendar year for which benefits are being requested. An application for payment may have been filed at any time in 2010, but must be filed no later than 30 calendar days after the end of the calendar year in which the loss of livestock occurred. For 2010 losses, the application for payment must be filed no later than Jan. 31.

 For more information on FSA program requirements, visit the Pittsburg/Latimer/McIntosh County FSA office in McAlester at 200 S. Third St., call 423-4073, ext. 2, or visit online at www.fsa.usda.gov/ok.

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