Charlie Massey, 4, is receiving speech therapy through the Early Life Speech and Language Clinic program run by childhood language disorder expert Alice Hollopeter. Therapy is provided at no cost to families.
To help the clinic continue its work in the Walla Walla Masonic Center at 607 E. Main St., Super 1 shoppers recently gave the program a boost via a check for $796. Super 1 chose the clinic as featured beneficiary for April-June.
“Our clinic was selected to be part of the Super 1 ‘Giving in Unity for Our Community’ program the company offers to nonprofits and fundraisers. The collected funds came from customer donations made in the jars at the checkout registers. These funds will support our speech therapy for children ages 2-7,” said Doug Warnock, chairman of the program Scottish Rite of Freemasonry sponsors in the Walla Walla Valley.
Charlie’s been in the program for a year, Tessa Massey said of her son. “His progress is like night and day. He used to get frustrated because he couldn’t communicate his thoughts to his dad, Mike, and me. It would become very frustrating for me as a mom, too, knowing he was working so hard.
“He’s come so far, thanks to Alice in the clinic. She takes an incredible approach to working with the children in the program. I’ve even seen her get down on the floor to play with the kids to draw them into the learning experience,” Tessa said.
Alice holds a master’s degree and a certificate of clinical competence in speech and language pathology, recognized by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, according to a release.
The program’s goal is to ensure children will have verbal communication skills needed for success at home, in school and life. Children receive intensive, individualized therapy based on the therapist’s assessment. At least one parent is asked to attend each session with the child so they can help the child practice at home between therapy sessions.
Opened in April 2017 to meet the needs of underserved children in the Walla Walla Valley, Doug said they have a full caseload of 16 children currently receiving therapy services and there is a waiting list of children who also need these services.
Scottish Rite Masons of Washington created the program in 1984 to provide speech therapy to children struggling with some type of speech or language delays, Dougsaid.
The ELSL clinic gives children and families hope for success as they move into the education system in the community.
“If the Masons from Scottish Rite didn’t have this clinic for kids like ours, I don’t know what we would have done because we couldn’t afford services like these. This is such a blessing for us and for Charlie. He has the words now and has a lot of information to share. He’s calmed down, gained confidence and is a much different kid. We’re very happy with him, and with Alice,” Tessa said.
More information about the clinic and speech therapy is available by contacting Alice at 509-876-0450. Donations are welcome.
Scottish Rite of Freemasonry also operates two other youth-focused programs in the Walla Walla Valley.
Scottish Rite Foundation offers highly-competitive scholarships for college and university juniors and seniors attending schools in Washington.
Scottish Rite also recognizes cadets in the Walla Walla High School Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps who compete annually for awards that recognize excellence in academics, leadership and role-model community service.
Etcetera appears in daily and Sunday editions. Annie Charnley Eveland can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or afternoons at 526-8313.