Bobby J. Demott, 33
Knoxville, Tennessee

As Masons we know that it is necessary to meet on the level if learning is to take place. Three-year old children are no different. In the Hearing and Speech Clinic at the University of Tennessee, instruction starts on the level of the child on a topic with which he feels comfortable. If the child cannot talk, communication takes place using signs, other actions, and toys. Without the ability to talk, some children become withdrawn and need special encouragement. To hear a child say da-da or ma-ma seems like no big thing, but if the child should have said it a year earlier, it is a big event when, after therapy, it finally happens.

Deborah King, Speech and Hearing Coordinator, shows a parent how to foster communication with his son.

Achieving these life-changing events is the University of Tennessee Department of Audiology and Speech Pathology’s mission. The facility has over 25,000 square feet of floor space, several hundred undergraduates, and over 80 graduate students. The Scottish Rite supports the department’s mission as it is carried out by the Speech and Hearing Clinic at the University and the Mountain Region Speech and Hearing Clinic at Kingsport. Ill. James L. Pointer Sr., 33, President of the Knoxville Scottish Rite Foundation, also notes that special clinics are frequently held at local school and community buildings to identify children in need of treatment.

In addition, Scottish Rite support extends beyond helping children. Ill. Ralph H. Grissom Jr., 33, had his larynx removed, was fitted with an electrical talking device, and received instruction at the University’s clinic on how to use the machine. Since then he has become a favorite visitor showing students what can be done for a person who has undergone a laryngectomy.