RiteCare is the primary charity supported by most Scottish Rite Valleys in the Southern Jurisdiction.
At the St. Paul Valley, we support the local RiteCare of Minneapolis-St. Paul.
In the early 1950s in Colorado, the Scottish Rite initiated a program to help children with speech and language disorders. The results led to the establishment of Scottish Rite Childhood Language Clinic programs nationally to provide for diagnostic evaluation and treatment of such disorders. Today there are nearly 200 of these programs in the United States serving more than 28,000 children each year. In Minnesota there are three financially and operationally independent Scottish Rite childhood language programs in Minneapolis-St. Paul, Duluth, and Rochester.
Communication disorders can negatively impact a child’s ability to:
- Process or understand sounds and words being spoken
- Link sounds together in the correct sequence to be understood
- Express meaningful words using correct word order and grammar
- Speak intelligibly and be understood by others
- Use language in a meaningful, purposeful manner in all communication situations
- Develop a healthy self-concept and succeed in school and future work
In short, such disorders can inhibit or prevent successful learning and relationship building from the earliest childhood years forward, with all the attendant social issues.
The purpose of the RiteCare® program is to prepare children during their pre-school years for educational opportunities and a full and contributing life. RiteCare® grants primarily underwrite individual speech therapy for children with phonological deviations, language delays, cerebral palsy, cleft palate, Fragile X Syndrome, hearing loss, developmental paraxial of speech, global cognitive delays, and auditory processing disorders. Early diagnosis and developmental therapy is critical in human development of speech and language patterns. The typical age span of eligible children is from 3-5 years old entering their treatment program and 4-7 years old on completion. In 2019, after discussion with Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) professionals, the Board decided to expand services on a very limited basis to children as young as 2. In 2021 we had three 2-year olds as grant recipients.
Services are provided for children in a 16-county Twin Cities metro area, serving the following counties: Anoka, Carver, Chisago, Dakota, Goodhue, Hennepin, Isanti, Le Sueur, McLeod, Ramsey, Rice, Scott, Sherburne, Sibley, Washington and Wright. The potential client base in this area numbers in the thousands. So many school-based programs are simply overwhelmed, and children in need do not receive sufficient help. In an effort to fill part of that gap, the RiteCare® program is dedicated to providing access to quality, state-of-the-art language services to children in need during those early intervention years, regardless of race, creed, or the family’s ability to pay. It strives to include the entire family in the therapy process through qualified independent providers located near the child’s home or parents’ work throughout the Twin Cities, so that all involved are empowered to help the child become a successful life-long learner.
The RiteCare® Board of Directors includes representatives of the Minneapolis and the St. Paul Valleys of the Scottish Rite and Order of the Eastern Star.
The current grant program was started at the beginning of 2013. Grants are identified in the name of the individual and funds are applied to billings after any insurance coverage is processed. Parents or guardians are responsible to select a MN/ASHA certified provider of speech and language services for the child. Initially when the grant program began, we awarded one $5,000 grant for a one-year period that was renewable upon application for a second year if the need for therapy continued. The grant program now provides one award of $7,500 that covers up to a two-year period, making the grants administratively easier for both the Board and the parents while providing financial support needed to partially offset the cost of therapy. The current maximum number of concurrent grants is set at 90.
Ninety-five percent of all charitable donations received by the program go to the children’s therapy.
Giving Kids a Voice
Speech and language disorders affect approximately six million children in the United States. RiteCare® of Minneapolis-Saint Paul is committed to helping children with communication disorders to receive financial grants for treatment so they can be empowered to speak and be understood. Speech and language problems can be hard to detect. The child’s vocabulary may be slow in development or difficult to understand, using incomplete or incorrect sentences. They may have difficulty with attention, memory or word retrieval. Parents must remember that these disorders do not necessarily mean there is any mental or emotional deficiency.