Festive program wraps up Communication Science and Disorders-led RiteCare© camps

Leda takes a turn at knocking down a pyramid of cups as part of the Carnival activities

Leda takes a turn at knocking down a pyramid of cups as part of the Carnival activities.

With a program filled with music, dance and laughter, the RU Department of Communication Science and Disorders capped an ambitious RiteCare© Clinics summer devoted to helping children develop and enhance communication and literacy skills.

More than 60 children and family members gathered with members of the Scottish Rite Foundation Friday in RU's Hurlburt Student Center for a carnival, performances, lunch and a book reading session led by James Cole, Scottish Rite Sovereign Grand Inspector General in Virginia.

"I have been reading to this group for nine or ten years and it is always fun," said Cole, who read "Olivia Saves the Circus" to a rapt and supportive audience. Cole then presented RU Provost Sam Minner a check for $33,000 to support initiatives that enhance literacy and language skills of children in the New River Valley.

"Thanks to the help and support of the Scottish Rite Foundation, we were able to help children of all ages with a range of needs at these four camps," said COSD Chair Diane Millar.  Minner added his thanks, saying, "Since the 1950's the Scottish Rite Foundation has been helping improve and foster communication skills and we thank you for helping Radford's best do what they do best."

James Cole reading

James Cole reads to Scottish Rite Ritecare© participants as part of this year's celebration of the Ritecare© Summer Programs.

This summer's RiteCare© programs included:

  • the sixth annual Family Autism Camp, an intensive family-oriented session that teamed children without impairments and children with autism together to create an environment for improving communication and social skill
  • the Auditory Processing Disorder (ADP) and Literacy Clinic that paired an clinician with each of six children with ADP and reading, writing or spelling disorders to develop literacy skills
  • the Language and Literacy Summer Institute that provided 25 children from preschool to middle school with treatment programs that bolster their oral and written language skills
  • the Preschool Language Lab (PLL) for toddlers and preschool-age children who have communication disorders or are at risk of failing to develop strong communication skills and featured peer interaction and music therapy activities.

At the camps, seven Scottish Rite Fellowship recipients - second year graduate students Megan Cullen, Jan Ferguson, Alexandra Kuper, Shannon Lisowe, Whitney Morris, Jillian Ramsey and Sabrina Wren - worked with clients individually and in groups and earned valuable experience as clinicians.

They were selected for having committed themselves to advancing knowledge of childhood language disorders and have positioned themselves to work with children from Virginia who have such challenges. "They will have a big long-term impact on children and families, so it is a real win-win relationship," said Cole.

"This is my thing," said Lisowe, who was a counselor at the Family Autism Camp and whose brother is autistic. "These are smart kids and I am learning to tailor and alter the ways I work with them to not frustrate or overwhelm them."

The Family Autism Camp was themed "Interacting Under the Big Top" and had a circus theme.  Working with the kids as a "Ringleader" this summer was Bailey Turman, a senior at Pulaski County High School and National Honor Society member. A former camper, Turman enjoyed the chance to work with younger children and sharpen their communication and social skills.

"These camps have helped me to talk and converse better," he said. "This is a great camp and I thank RU and the Scottish Rite."

Learn more about Radford University at www.radford.edu.

Sam Minner and James Cole

Sam Minner (l) and James Cole (r) with the check presented to RU by the Scottish Rite.

Jul 2, 2013
Don Bowman
(540) 831-7523