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Ballad Sweeney, M.S., CCC/SLP, Director
Scottish Rite Childhood Language Disorders Center

The Pasadena Scottish Rite opened the first Childhood Language Disorders Center in the San Gabriel Valley on January 2, 1996. The project was a long-cherished ambition and is now a reality serving any local child of preschool age with a speech or language delay. Parents attend each treatment session so they can contribute to their child’s progress, and there is no charge for this service. The first three beneficiaries of this program were two young girls and a boy.

Our first client came to the center with difficulty in making many speech sounds and could say only a handful of words. She frequently relied on gestures, such as pointing, to communicate. In just two months, she managed three new speech sounds, began using more words, and started putting them together into short sentences. Her mother reports she is talking more at home and trying new words. Home practice is very important to continued progress. This little darling, who could hardly speak a word when she began treatment, recently managed her longest sentence ever, “I want Snow White dress on.” Great!

The second youngster enrolled in the center was a spunky five-year-old. Right now, she is working on her “snake sound,” the letter S, and doing a great job of listening to her own speech and making sure she speaks the right way. Also, her skill at story-telling, something vital for kindergarten readiness, is improving. Children are much better able to learn new information and share experiences if they know how the structure of a story works. When we ask children, “What did you do today?” we are essentially asking them to tell us the story of their day. This little girl has just had a birthday, and I am anxious to hear the story of her party.

Our third client, Vincent (pictured with me above), is making remarkable progress in learning to describe, predict, analyze, and compare objects and events. All of these are important verbal skills that help him participate in conversation. In the activity pictured above, Vincent is using descriptions to indicate which vehicle he wants me to push next. Naturally, all must be pushed “Fast!”

As you can see, progress at the Pasadena Center is fast, too, and making a real difference in the lives of kids. Someday, they will be truly thankful that they have been given “The Gift of Gab” by the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry!