Department of Communications Sciences and Disorders to host busy RiteCare© summer schedule


To help area children and their families develop and enhance communication and literacy skills, RU's Department of Communications Sciences and Disorders (COSD) and the Scottish Rite Foundation will host a series of clinics in the Waldron College of Health and Human Services (WCHHS), beginning June 8.

RU faculty and graduate student clinicians will work with clients who have applied to participate in the program and attend for free. The RiteCare© clinics will culminate with a luncheon and program June 26, to honor the Virginia Orient of the Scottish Rite and the Scottish Rite Foundation, which have partnered with Radford University since 1995 to offer the Summer RiteCare© Clinics.

The summer 2015 events are:

  • The Language and Literacy Summer Institute, led by COSD Associate Professor Elizabeth Lanter, will provide children from preschool to middle school with treatment programs that bolster their oral and written language skills. The Institute will address language and literacy skills, such as story re-telling, sound awareness, letter-sound correspondence, comprehension and written expression among others.
  • The Preschool Language Lab (PLL) is a program for toddlers and pre-school-aged children who have identified communication disorders or are at risk of failing to develop strong communication skills. During the four-week event, which will feature peer interaction and music therapy activities, the 12 clients will work with COSD and music therapy faculty and graduate students toward reaching specific speech, language and peer interaction-skill goals. Caregivers of the participants also attend to gain knowledge and skills that support their children's skills at home. The PLL is organized by Corey Cassidy, WCHHS associate dean and associate COSD professor, and Assistant Professor of Music Trish Winter.
  • Reading Smiles Jr. is a speech/language summer therapy program for toddlers and pre-schoolers with language delay disorder. Reading Smiles Jr. is organized by six graduate students led by Clinical Instructor Patricia Rossi. The program is designed to develop face-to-face, dynamic communication skills and to lay the cognitive foundation for reading. Through play, parent teaching and home programming, three picture books  - "Rosie's Walk," "The Napping House," and "Ah Ha!" - will be brought to life.
  • Assistant Professor Karen Davis and Instructor Karen Arndt will host the inaugural RU Adventure Reading and Writing Camp. Through small-group and individual work, a dozen area children, grades one through six, will work with faculty and graduate students to develop literacy skills, a cornerstone of academic achievement. The camp will feature an augmented reality "app," called FreshAiR, to help each child meet individual goals and measure learning of language and literacy skills. FreshAiR was developed by Professor of Education Matt Dunleavy and RU students in the Radford Outdoor Augmented Reality Lab.

"The faculty and graduate students of the COSD department are as motivated and determined as ever to serve children and their families," said Millar. "It is the generosity of the Scottish Rite and the collaborative efforts of our colleagues in the other colleges that allow us to create this rich, fun environment for teaching communication and literacy skills."

During the busy camp and clinic season, five RU COSD graduate students will gain valuable experience in the design and implementation of various language and literacy interventions. The 2015 recipients of Scottish Rite Summer Scholarships are:

  • Sophie Elliot
  • Allison Jarboe
  • Mary Mitchell
  • Stephanie Walton
  • Brittany Whitman

The Scottish Rite Foundation and the COSD Department have collaborated to offer an annual summer program on the RU campus since 1995. To date, the foundation has raised nearly $1 million in support of these and other initiatives to enhance children's literacy and language skills.

In addition to those students who receive fellowships from the Scottish Rite Foundation to participate in the 2015 RiteCare Summer Clinics, the Foundation will award additional fellowships in the fall to RU students who have committed to advancing knowledge of childhood language disorders and positioned themselves to work with children in Virginia who have such challenges.

Jun 9, 2015