1. Where does the name “half Helen” come from?

Good question! Chelsea Elliott, the founder of half Helen Foundation, is blind in her left eye and deaf in her right ear. In school, Chelsea learned about Helen Keller and surmised that since she was half-blind and half-deaf, she was “Half Helen.” When Chelsea finished college, she used her graduation money to start a nonprofit organization that offers preventive vision and hearing screenings, suitably named “half Helen Foundation.”

2. What services does hH offer and what do they include?

We offer affordable, high-quality vision and hearing screenings to help identify and prevent visual and auditory impairments in underserved communities. In addition to the screening services, we provide each child with a one-page report that details his or her test results and any abnormal conditions found. If children need further care after being screened, we will refer them to local doctors and specialists. Children can receive full eye exams and corrective wear for free from our partner organization, Kids Vision for Life.

3. How do you schedule a screening with half -Helen Foundation?

It’s easy! Just follow the steps listed below:

First, you’ll need to fill out a “Request for Screening Services ” Once you’ve submitted that form, we’ll connect with your Primary Contact (PC) within 48 hours to discuss logistical details.

After we cover those details, your PC must draft a screening schedule for students, obtain approval of the schedule from the chief school administrator, and send the schedule to teachers and us.

One week before the screening, the PC must enter required student data in an Excel document, which we will provide, and email it to the hH representative.


4. What are the next steps after being screened, and how do you obtain follow-up care?

After being screened, students will receive a personalized, one-page report called the Vision Screening Summary, which details their test results and any abnormal conditions found. The report may show that your child’s eyes are normal; if so, then great! However, if your child’s screening results indicate that he or she should see a doctor for a complete eye exam, we will gladly help you obtain follow-up care, and connect you with our partners in the community. For assistance, please contact us at 512. 299.1353 or at info@halfhelen.org.

5. Where does hH offer services?

We currently offer vision, hearing, and spinal screening services throughout public, private, and charter school systems in Hawaii and Texas. In the coming years, we plan to expand to other states that lack in-school screening services.


6. How long do screenings take?

Not long at all! Using the Welch Allyn Spot Vision Screener™, we are able to render a student’s vision screening results in roughly 2-3 seconds. At this rate, we can screen approximately three students per minute. In under 90 seconds, we can provide a comprehensive summary of both a child’s vision and hearing screening results that indicates whether he or she should receive further care from a specialist.

7. What kind of technology does hH use when screening?

The absolute best. For vision screenings, we use the Welch Allyn Spot Vision Screener™, which is a hand-held device that combines the functions of an auto-refractor with video-retinoscopy to produce comprehensive vision screening measurements. Unlike standard eye charts, which can take several minutes, the Spot camera is able to capture 23 metrics of an individual’s eyes within seconds. Using infrared light and preset criteria, Spot software compares the information captured with the individual’s age and gender to determine whether he or she should receive a full eye exam. Even more, the Spot camera is able to screen infants as young as six months old; it’s a truly revolutionary tool! To conduct hearing screenings, we use audiometers approved by the state of Texas.

8. What kinds of eye disorders does the vision screening identify?

Whereas standard eye charts can only measure an individual’s distance acuity, the Spot Vision Screener™ is able to identify six of the most common vision impairments in infants as young as three months old: Myopia (nearsightedness), Hyperopia (farsightedness), Astigmatism (blurred vision), Gaze (strabismus), Anisometropia (unequal refractive power), and Anisocoria (pupil size deviations).

9. Why is screening important?

Since children’s vision and hearing health directly affects their ability to learn, early detection of potential impairments through screenings is vital to their academic success. Perhaps even more importantly, many serious eye conditions have no symptoms. By providing vision screenings, we can catch those conditions and prevent them from worsening.