The Jacksonville Speech and Hearing Center, through grants funded by The Chartrand Family Fund at The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida, The Florida Blue Foundation and Medtronic has completed the screening of 2385 children ages 2 – 5 and provided 1765 speech and language therapy sessions to 79 children who were identified as at risk for communications disorders. The announcement was made by Mike Howland, President and CEO of the nonprofit.
The purpose of the grants was to provide speech-language pathology screenings, evaluations, and therapy to underserved and under/uninsured pre-kindergarten children located at daycare centers and preschools throughout Duval County. It is vital to catch and treat speech and hearing disorders at an early age so children will not fall behind in school.
“Young children with speech and language disorders are at increased risk for difficulty with academic performance later in life,” said Dorothy Train-Marsh, a speech pathologist at Jacksonville Speech and Hearing Center. “Speech sound production is key to letter-sound relationships necessary for reading and writing.”
Parents should note the number of words their child uses by pre-kindergarten as well as the ability to string together four to five words in a sentence. Certain phonological sounds such as saying the letter “v” or “f” should be present around the age of three.
Screenings were provided by ASHA Certified Speech-Language pathologists at over 75 Duval County preschools. Evaluations and therapy were provided to children with Medicaid, uninsured children and underinsured children at more than 35 preschools in Duval County.
“We are grateful to our grantors for helping us to provide this much needed service,” said Howland. “The Chartrand Foundation, Florida Blue Foundation and Medtronic understand that children need to be ready to learn and communication skills are an important skill set for school.”
The Jacksonville Speech and Hearing Center was founded in 1949 by the Junior League of Jacksonville. Today this nonprofit, located at 1128 N. Laura St., serves children, adults and seniors providing screenings, evaluations and treatments in the areas of speech pathology and audiology. Most major insurances are accepted.