are the basic steps of language development in the young mind. Yet,
there are otherwise normal, healthy children, rich and poor alike, who
are shut off from communication, even with their own parents.
children's hearing, speech, language, or learning problems could arise
from a variety of reasons. Research continues on the causes of poor
speech and language development, as well as associated learning
disabilities in children. In Tennessee, Scottish Rite Mason support a
Research Institute for these communication disorders. Because there is a
wide age range for children to begin talking, parents may not at first
recognize these communication disorders. As they wait expectantly for
the first intelligible word uttered by their child, they may gradually
become concerned that something is amiss. Speech-language disorders
affect approximately six million children in the United States. However,
many of these childhood problems do not mean mental deficiency or
emotional disturbance. Often, these children have at least average or
even superior intelligence. What they lack is the ability to exercise
this intelligence through normal speech and language channels. Today, at
RiteCare clinics, centers, and programs in every Orient (state) of the
Southern Jurisdiction, many children with communication disorders can be
helped to hear, to speak, to understand.
Miracle of RiteCare Clinics, Centers, and Programs
early 1950s in Colorado, the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry of the
Southern Jurisdiction of the United States initiated a program to help
children with speech and language disorders. The results obtained from
this program led to the establishment of RiteCare
clinics to provide diagnostic evaluation and treatment of speech
and language disorders, as well as learning
there are 161
RiteCare clinics, centers, and special programs for children and
therapists located throughout the United States. Each facility is
staffed by speech-language pathologists or other trained personnel.
Through the support of Scottish Rite members, these clinics, centers,
and programs continue to increase. The value of this philanthropy has
long been apparent. Tens of thousands of youngsters across the United
States have been helped significantly. With the good work of dedicated
clinicians and parents, the Scottish Rite has achieved successes that
could only be imagined a few years back. Children who might have
remained educationally handicapped for a lifetime can now talk, read,
and lead useful lives.
That Touch the Heart
child so frustrated that he was hyperactive became a productive
child who was alienated and depressed because of a language
impairment and who was devastating his house-hold became friendly
and responded in a happy manner to gentle, sustained treatment.
little girl who was thought retarded reached out and spoke the
names of her parents.
boy who had a seemingly hopeless speech problem is today a
to Identify Speech and Language Disorders and Associated Learning
who have these problems are sometimes hard to detect. As noted before,
there is a wide age range for children to begin talking. Parents may
become concerned later than desirable, may not recognize, or may
misinterpret the symptoms. These children are often slow in developing
a vocabulary or are difficult to understand, using incomplete or
incorrect sentences or gibberish.
may have difficulties with attention, memory, or word retrieval. They
may be slow in processing auditory information. There are many
technical diagnostic terms for these problems, and some of them can
sound terrifying to parents. However, parents must remember that many
of these dysfunctions do not mean mental deficiency or emotional
Importance of Early Evaluation and Treatment
past few years, there has been increasing recognition of the
importance of evaluating and treating childhood problems at the
earliest possible stage. The chances of a child with a communication
disorder attaining his or her peer group level are much greater if the
child receives help at an early age.
to Do if a Parent Suspects a Child Needs Help
parent with concerns about a child's language or learning ability
should call a RiteCare Clinic, Center, or Program for guidance or
contact appropriate municipal or state organizations. The first step
is a complete evaluation of the child's condition by professionals. In
most instances, a child identified as having a communication disorder
can be helped by the Scottish Rite. However, a child who demonstrates
overall developmental delays or severe handicapping conditions may
require other forms of treatment, such as physical therapy or a
full-time special education program. Any of the trained
speech-language pathologists at the RiteCare clinics and centers can
recommend programs specializing in advanced treatment. These
facilities generally are located in or adjacent to a Scottish Rite
Temple, and the clinics may be associated with major hospitals or
universities in the area. All are clearly identified in the telephone
book and are known to health-care and education professionals in the
areas in which they are located. The main thing parents should
remember is to seek help as soon as possible if there s any indication
that the child has a problem.
rule, the RiteCare Clinics accept preschool children who have
difficulty speaking or understanding the spoken word or school-age
children who have difficulty learning to read. Some centers also offer
literacy training for adults.
on age groups and program offerings in specific areas should be
addressed to the director of the local Scottish Rite facility. Equally
important, all services are available regardless of race, creed, or
the family's inability to pay.
cooperation of each child's parents is essential. The whole family, as
well as the child, is trained by skilled clinicians so that, in
addition to treatment, parents are able to continue at home the
clinic's recommended therapy.
influence of the RiteCare Program goes far beyond the walls of the
clinics and centers. In many instances, it is not unusual for staff
members to go into the community and visit schools or other
institutions. In some instances, the Scottish Rite trains young people
interested in the field of speech pathology.
is a contribution in human terms in solving these problems for the
well-being and happiness of children and their parents. There is also
a very significant contribution to the economic health of our country
by providing the means for these children to become productive adults,
able to contribute to their own lives and to the betterment of
and concern for children have always been among the fundamental tenets
of the Masonic Fraternity. Helping children with speech and language
disorders and learning disabilities is a particular mission of the
Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, Southern Jurisdiction, USA.
and every member will want to help to fulfill this mission. At some
clinics and centers, fellow Masons, their wives, and teenagers can
participate in activities as volunteer assistants.
can help the children, assemble arts and crafts materials, and perform
secretarial or maintenance tasks. In some cases, they also provide
transportation to children and parents who would otherwise be unable
You Can Help Eliminate Language and Learning Problems in Children
to the generosity of Scottish Rite members through their national and
local foundations, which provide financial support for our RiteCare
Clinics, Centers, and Programs, thousands of children have been
evaluated and successfully treated in a nurturing environment.
Miracles can happen, and with skillful evaluation and treatment,
miracles are happening in RiteCare facilities all over America.
more clinics, centers, and programs are needed to help all of the
children with these problems. Also, Scottish Rite clinics already in
existence continue to need donations for additional therapists,
instructional materials, special equipment, and improved facilities.
addition to our membership support, the Scottish Rite encourages all
concerned citizens to assist in this worthy humanitarian effort. One
way to assist is through estate planning. A bequest to either the
local Scottish Rite foundation or the national foundation can be
designated for support of our children's charity. Gifts, of course,
are tax deductible as provided by law.
are tomorrow's citizens and the hope for our world. To help America's
children overcome their challenges is a major contribution to our
While all children in need are eligible for available RiteCare
Program treatment, please consult with your
local facility for specific financial information.