Walker Scottish Rite Clinic Working to Raise Awareness of Childhood Communication Disorders and Free Services Offered by the Clinic

St. Louis parents are encouraged to learn the warning signs and seek help early during May—”Better Hearing and Speech Month”

An estimated one in 10 preschool-aged children has a speech or language disorder—among the most common disabilities in children nationwide.

During May, Better Hearing and Speech Month, the Walker Scottish Rite Clinic is working to raise awareness about the services available to help detect and treat childhood speech and hearing disorders. The Clinic has seven St. Louis locations that provide speech and language screenings and continuous therapy to children between the ages of two and six years old, at no cost to parents.

Since the Walker Scottish Rite Clinic opened 30 years ago, nearly 20,000 children in St. Louis have received speech and language services. However, as the Clinic’s locations and staff have expanded, so have the number of children in need of services.

“There is a significant need of free speech-language therapy in the St. Louis area. Publicly funded services are available but are sometimes hard to qualify for, due to strict eligibility requirements,” said Jacob Gutshall, MHS, CCC-SLP, director of the Walker Scottish Rite Clinic. “Children who do not qualify for services through the state but still exhibit difficulties—and who lack insurance covering speech therapy—are falling through the cracks. The Walker Scottish Rite Clinic helps address this gap.”

Gutshall said speech and language disorders are highly treatable with early intervention. In addition to providing free screenings and therapy sessions for children, the Clinic also teaches parents how to help children with speech and language disorders at home. Warning signs of communication disorders vary by age and include indicators such as routinely producing speech that is unclear, even to familiar people, or difficulty following directions.

The nonprofit Walker Scottish Rite Clinic is a fully integrated program of Maryville University. It is also supported by the LIGHT Foundation, members of the Scottish Rite and contributions from the community. Its mission is teaching two- to six-year-old children with speech and language disorders the communication skills necessary to succeed in school and throughout their lives.

To schedule a free screening with the Walker Scottish Rite Clinic, call 314.529.9200.

To help support free children’s services at the Clinic, please visit www.srclinic.org/give30 

About the Walker Scottish Rite Clinic

The Walker Scottish Rite Clinic, a fully integrated program of Maryville University, is committed to teaching two-through six-year-old children with speech and language disorders the communication skills necessary to succeed in school and throughout their lives. The Clinic is a charitable organization providing services to children in seven locations in St. Louis city, county and the communities of Arnold, Troy and Union, Missouri. Services are funded by corporate and foundation grants, special fundraising events and individual donations. The Clinic receives no federal funding, and families are never charged for services, regardless of financial status or insurance coverage.