Posted Online: July 01, 2011, 12:10 pm
Speech therapy shared the 'rite' way
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By Leon Lagerstam, firstname.lastname@example.org
DAVENPORT -- The success of a speech therapy program at St. Ambrose University has spread, fittingly enough, mostly by word of mouth.
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Jack Bloodsworth, 8, and Ellie Bloodsworth, 6, have been attending the Rite Care Clinic for speech and language pathology therapy sessions since the program started two years ago at St. Ambrose University in Davenport. They participate in 30-minute sessions twice a week lead by students in the university's master's degree program.
Beth Bloodsworth, of Davenport, whose son, Jack, 8, was the first client at a Rite Care Clinic -- named in honor of the program's Scottish Rite benefactors -- has referred ''at least 10 other families'' to the clinic, she said.
Her daughter, Ellie Bloodsworth, 6, also gets help at the clinic, 1310 W. Pleasant St., for ''articulation disorders,'' Mrs. Bloodsworth said.
And it's all been free for the Bloodsworths and families they've referred, she said.''It's a wonderful program, and I'm a huge proponent.''
The clinic opened in the fall of 2009, with the help of a $50,000 grant from the Davenport Valley Scottish Rite. An additional $30,000 from the Iowa Scottish Rite Masonic Foundation and national Supreme Council gave the program an extra boost.
''Masonry, in general, leans toward supporting programs that help children,'' Davenport Valley secretary-registrar Russ Risley said. ''Our philanthropy focuses on speech and language disorders.''
Masonry fraternal organizations support 178 Rite Care clinics and hospitals across the country, he said. Each is run by a valley such as Davenport's group, Mr. Risley said.
''We got into this one at the ground floor,'' he said. ''They had just started renovating an old convent, so we got to see the whole process of remodeling. It has given our members something to be proud of, proud that we've been a part of the program from the beginning, and how it has definitely matched the mission we have.''
Many Rite Care clinics operate in public universities, but St. Ambrose may be the only private college to have one, said Elisa Huff, an associate professor and director in the speech language pathology program.
''We work with any person, children or adults, who has difficulty pronouncing sounds correctly,'' she said. ''It's also where graduate students obtain experience working with children or adults having those communication difficulties, while being closely supervised by nationally certified speech pathologies.''
The first group of 22 Ambrose students in the program graduated in May, and most had jobs waiting for them, according to university materials.
Those graduate students are what Mrs. Bloodsworth said her children liked most.
''They have been so supportive of my kids, and worked with them at their levels, all while making it fun,'' she said, ''It's been a blessing for us.''
Unlike the Rite Care Clinic, public schools don't have the time and resources, and don't offer help over the summer, Mrs. Bloodsworth said.
Ms. Huff said grant money has allowed Rite Care to continue helping students over the summer, which keeps them from forgetting everything they learned over the school year.
She also think it's terrific that the program not only serves clients at the clinic, but also goes out into the community to deliver services at different sites.
''Some of the places we provide help at is at Friendly House, which has an early-learning program for kids ages 3 to 4; Kids Corner Day Care, affiliated with Friendly House, and cares for kids 2 to 5 years old; St. Ambrose University's Children's Campus that offers day care and preschool for kids 5 weeks to 5 years old; All Saints Catholic School that's right across the street from us, and we just started working with Lydia House, with an after-school program there.''
Ms. Huff hopes the program will continue to grow so they can provide more help to children and adults who otherwise may not have access to such services.
The clinic now can serve a maximum of 25 students per year, and has its maximum of 25 graduate degree students to help.
For information about the clinic or its services, call (563) 333-3920.
Plenty can be told about it, all by word of mouth.