The Robert L. Douglass Speech and Language Clinic provides life-changing speech and language treatment of childhood language disorders, free of charge to children and their families.
The National Center for Learning Disabilities reports that one in five children have learning disabilities requiring the services of a certified Speech-Language Pathologist. These children often suffer deeply from low self-esteem and low self-confidence. Early intervention is essential to mitigating persistent, long-term social, emotional and academic challenges.
Speech therapy provided by licensed Speech-Language Pathologists is vitally important to children who struggle daily with the task of speaking clearly and communicating. Many of these children become used to being teased, ignored, or even scolded when they want to say something and just can’t. Unfortunately, countless children are inappropriately socially promoted from one grade level to the next and suffer from extremely low self-confidence and have difficulty succeeding academically.
Each year over 2,000 children receive therapy by licensed Speech Pathologists at the Robert L. Douglass Speech and Language Clinic and the other 13 RiteCare Childhood Language Centers across the State.
Speech is how words and sounds are produced and include the following:
Articulation is how clearly we say sounds. Some children cannot say the /r/ or /l/ sound and need help to improve their articulation skills.
Fluency is the flow, smoothness, and rate of speech. A disfluency is a break in the flow of speech, which is common for everyone. Stuttering occurs when there are more breaks or dysfluencies than is typical.
Voice is how we use our breath and our vocal folds to produce sound. The quality of a child’s voice can become harsh if there is over-use from shouting, vocal pitch can be too high or too low, and voices can be too soft or too loud.
At the Robert L. Douglass Speech and Language Clinic we offer a variety of intervention models to assist children in the development of their speech skills. A majority of the time, children are seen in one-on-one intensive therapy sessions year-round. When appropriate, children may participate in small group therapy sessions to help generalize skills to new and more challenging settings.
All speech therapy programs are individualized. Sessions are conducted by our licensed and certified Speech-Language Pathologist. Speech therapy can improve the correct production of sounds, improve the flow of speech, and improve vocal quality and pitch. We can help your child gain the skills they need to be a success in school and beyond.
By 1-2 years of age, a child should follow simple directions, point to several body parts, combine two words, and ask simple questions.
By 2-3 years old, a child should follow a two-step command, understand simple opposites, use 2-3 word sentences, and have a word for almost everything. The following sounds are produced: n, m, p, h, w, b.
By 3-4 years old, a child should answer who, what, where, and why questions, talk about things he/she does, and use frequent sentences with 5 or more words. The sounds listed above should be present, in addition to k, g, i, d and ng. The child should be understood most of the time.
By 4-5 a child should pay attention to a story and answer simple questions about it. He/she should understand most of what is said at home and school. He/she should talk in detailed sentences and tell stories that sound the same as the rest of the family. Almost all sounds are mastered with the exception of a few (like /r/ and “th”).
Parents know their children best. If you are concerned about your child’s communication in any way, give a RiteCare Childhood Language Center a call. They are here to answer your questions and there is no charge.
RiteCare Childhood Language Centers in your area can be located by clicking here.
Parents should talk to their children from the earliest months of life. Babies especially enjoy listening to mothers and fathers who talk to them during activities such as bathing and feeding.
Take time to read to your children each day. Even infants enjoy story time with high-interest picture books. Choose age-appropriate books and other reading materials readily available from your public library.
Listen to your children and encourage them to engage in conversations with family members and other children. Children will make mistakes in speech and language as they develop new skills; parents should avoid discouraging children’s development by over-correcting these mistakes.
Monitor your child’s speech and language development relative to age-specific language development expectations. Pediatricians/primary care physicians, public health clinics, and public libraries have child development materials including developmental expectations for speech and language.
Take an interest in your child’s school activities and participate in homework assignments. Parents should encourage independent problem solving and praise children for completing difficult assignments.
Parents are a child’s most important role model. Parents can demonstrate that listening, reading, writing, and learning are enjoyable, lifelong activities. Parents should set aside quiet time for independent reading for themselves and their school-age children each day.
Parents can request a hearing test and speech and language evaluation if they are concerned about their child’s development. Free screenings are available through the Robert L. Douglass Speech and Language Clinic.
For the Location of a RiteCare Childhood Language Center in your area, click here.
“It is difficult to find words to express thanking you for saving our child’s life. This is what you have done. You took our beloved child, destined for failure and heartache, and pointed him in the direction of happiness and success.
Two years ago, he could not read. He could not speak in sentences combining phrases or utilizing words containing more than one syllable. Of course, he suffered greatly, and had no confidence, and no joy. Socially he was withdrawn and depressed. He had continuing series of nervous “tics.” Today our beautiful son is reading at grade level and talking with enthusiasm and the flow of a child who is experiencing life. He received much help from his school, but the major change in performance was due to the RiteCare Language Center that he attended. Our son will be entering fourth grade in a regular class this fall (minus tics). He still needs reassurance, possibly some tutoring, but he has tasted achievement. He tasted it in your clinic! The sweet savor of it will motivate him to work harder the rest of his life. You gave our son the gift of success.
Though I’ve found some words, to be sure, they still feel inadequate. With all the sophisticated expressions taught in early form in your very own clinic, there is simply no written symbol sufficient to demonstrate the appreciation which our entire family feels for all you have done for our beautiful boy. Thank you for saving his life!”
Letter from a grateful parent.
Each year, the 14 RiteCare Childhood Language Centers provide services to over 2,000 children with speech, language and literacy disorders. These services are provided free of charge. There are many children on the waiting lists to receive therapy. Please support the RiteCare Childhood Language Centers of California, a program of the California Scottish Rite Foundation, so that they may receive the therapy they desperately need.