Scottish Rite Center for Childhood Language Disorders
Tommie L. Robinson, Jr., Ph.D, Director
It is with pleasure that I provide an update on the activities of the Scottish Rite Center for Childhood Language Disorders. The center opened its doors in 1989 and was dedicated by then first lady Barbara Bush. It is hard to believe that 17 years have passed. The center initially started with a director, two clinicians, and two administrative assistants. We had a very small bilingual program and saw approximately 300 children on a yearly basis.
Much has happened since that time and I have highlighted a few events for you below:
Our bilingual program for speech language pathology services is a flagship in the community. We offer diagnostic and therapy services for children 0-21 who need to be seen for bilingual (Spanish) services. The vast majority of the patients that we see are from bilingual families. Having clinicians who are able to speak the language and understand the culture, is unique to our center. We serve as consultants and expert witnesses in cases that involve a second opinion.
A Program for Children who Stutter
Another unique service program that we have at the center is help for individuals who stutter. We offer hope for children and adolescents of all ages who have been identified as individuals who stutter. Too often these children are not seen early enough and the older they get the more difficult it is to remediate the stuttering. We continue to do early identification, prevention, and intervention. It is a joy to work with the children, adolescents and their families.
For many years we were in need of a new and updated playground for our patients and their families. Our dream has finally come true. We now have one of the finest play areas in the city in which our children and their families can play. The playground will be used in a variety of ways. It is a place where the patients can demonstrate carryover of skills learned in therapy. It will be a place for patients and families can wait and not feel confined to our waiting room. It will be used to help our patients relax and finally, it will be used as an alternative site for therapy.
There is much excitement and buzz about the new audiological booth that has been installed at the center. After some construction and reducing the size of one of the upstairs therapy rooms a one room audiological booth was installed. This will allow us to meet the hearing needs of the children and adolescents in this community. We are currently working with the hospital’s Hearing and Speech Center to staff the booth with a certified audiologist who will work for us part-time.
We have now expanded the staff to include positions for 6.5 full time equivalency (FTE) professional staff members. Three and one half (FTE) are Spanish-speaking clinicians and two are in the public schools. Expanding the staff has allowed us to meet the needs of our patients/clients that we serve and gives us an indication of the need for speech-language pathology services in the metropolitan Washington D.C. area.
Public Schools Program
I am convinced that one of our biggest contributions to the District of Columbia has been through our contractual services to provide speech and language services in the public schools. We have established amazing relations with two schools, Barnard Elementary school in Northwest DC and Tyler Elementary in Southeast DC. Through this work we have established a reputation as a group that knows how to “get the job done.” I am especially proud of this title because it indicates our commitment to the profession and to the children and the families that we serve. It also indicates our devotion to working with those in our community who are equally focused on children and adolescents and the need to prepare them to be effective communicators, therefore, making them good citizens and contributors to society.
I was delighted to learn that I was elected to the executive board of the American Speech- Language-Hearing Association as vice-president for quality of service in speech-language pathology. The scientific, professional and credentialing organization has over 128,000 members, and to be elected to serve as a member of this well respected group is indeed an honor. In my role as vice president, I monitor the work of the ASHA Board of Ethics, Council for Clinical Certification, and the Council for Specialty Recognition.
A Tribute to Martin Carlin
Words can not express the sadness that I feel as I write this last section. When I first became the director of this center, I had the pleasure of working with Mr. Carlin who was secretary of the Scottish Rite Foundation. I had met him previously in 1987 when I was first hired as a clinician to work at the Scottish Rite Center. But I never came to this location because I was promoted in the main hospital. In 1992 I was asked to be the second director of the center and determined that it is one of the best career moves that I have made. Martin made a statement to me that sticks with me to this day. He said, “Gwen and I never had children. This building is my baby. I want you to take care of it for me.” I answered with something like, “It will be my pleasure.” His statement was a testament not only to our relationship and his trust for me, but to the love and devotion that he had for the mission of the organization and his love for the building of this center. I am so grateful for who he was and for the legacy he leaves. Perhaps this is our call to name the center the “Martin Carlin Scottish Rite Center for Childhood Language Disorders.”
Martin Carlin was one of many who have devoted their lives to the philanthropic endeavors of the Scottish Rite Organization. This “flagship” center is what it is today because of individuals like you. You have made it possible for so many children to receive the services that they need in order to communicate effectively and to be successful in school. Each year we have seen an increase in the number of children that we service. Below are some of the statistics that will give you an idea of our service delivery:
|Year||No. Patients||No. Visits|
* Public schools number included
**Public schools number not included
Thank you for your commitment to your Scottish Rite Center for Childhood Language Disorders. Each day, I am sure that the children and adolescents seen at this center learn all that they can, use the information in a productive manner, and prepare for life. Your commitment to this center today…pays for tomorrow!