Leland Steva reports: Sioux Falls, SD
Whether it’s dyslexia, articulating words or stuttering, there are plenty of communication skills some children need help developing. Fortunately there’s an organization in Sioux Falls that helps mold those skills.

8-year-old Brecken is working on his communication skills. When he reads slowly and clearly, he gets a token and a congratulations. It’s a system that his mother Sarah Dorn says is working well.

“Ellie is really great with setting up a reward system and so that really motivates him and keeps him going and she really has just gotten to know him and his interests so he enjoys it,” Dorn said.

Brecken is one of the students benefiting from the USD Scottish Rite Children’s Clinic. The organization provides evaluation and treatment for children with communication disorders and their families. Last fiscal year, the clinic served more than 2,800 people up to to the age of 21. While some children take some extra time, the results are worth it.

“Often times I see kids who came in at one point who really didn’t speak and now they’re talking so that makes the guys who are Scottish Rite Masons want to stay involved and give their money to keep this going,” Jeff Larson of Scottish Rite said.

Many of the children work with USD Graduate Students. For the student instructors, it’s about helping out with a vital skill for the future.

“I look back at my life when I was a child there was some language struggles I had and I appreciate the teachers and the adults who helped me overcome those challenges, and I definitely wouldn’t be where I am today without my teachers and those who helped me along the way; So it’s something I hope to have that same kind of influence on children,” Joseph Ahuna said.

With the positive changes she’s seen in Brecken, his mom urges other families to take part.

“If any parents have any questions about their child’s speech, language developments at any age I would definitely recommend a call and speak to them here because they are the experts and they definitely help you,” Dorn said.

An organization spreading by word of mouth.

The clinic is made up of the Communication Sciences and Disorders Department of USD, the Scottish Rite Foundation of South Dakota, and the Sioux Empire United Way. 

For more information about the clinic call (605) 336-7561.

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