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Marshall University to hold annual fundraiser for children with speech disorders
Now at five years old, Krista has made incredible progress working with the speech therapists at Marshall. Her father, Dillard Price, said the changes in her speech are like night and day.
"We first noticed a problem when she was just two years old and had trouble saying even the most basic words, including her own name. She would get so frustrated and start crying," Price said. "Since coming to the Speech and Hearing Center, she has the ability to communicate with anybody and although we have a long way to go, we have hope that one day, you won't be able to tell there was ever a problem with her speech."
Krista is one of the many children who have been helped over the years through the Scottish Rite Childhood Speech and Language Program at Marshall University. Due to the improvements in her speech, Krista was chosen as the 2014 Scottish Rite Poster Child and will be honored at the annual Scottish Rite dinner on Monday evening.
Emily Neal, guest speaker for the dinner, came to the Speech and Hearing Center as an infant when her parents realized their daughter had been born deaf. Emily's mother, Shelley Neal, said after much prayer, the family decided to give Emily her first cochlear implant at 13 months old and her second cochlear implant at 5 years old.
"When we found out she was deaf, we weren't upset because we knew God had a plan for her life. People view children with differences as having a disability, but I see them as a gift from God," Neal said. "I'm excited she can be a role model for other children and can show the parents of other children that there is hope and that there is success in deafness. It doesn't have to be a disability. It's not a reason to be sad, but a reason to be an advocate for other children like my daughter."
Pam Holland, clinical director for the Speech and Hearing Center, said she is grateful for organizations like the Scottish Rite Foundation that raise money to help children like Krista and Emily achieve the best quality of life possible.
"Both girls will grow up to be independent, productive, communicative young ladies and the Scottish Rite Masons are the reason for that," Holland said.
Since 2002, the Scottish Rite Program has provided comprehensive services to children with communication disorders, without regard to creed, race or a family's ability to pay.
The 7th annual Scottish Rite Spring Dinner will take place at 7 p.m., Monday, April 7, at the Don Morris Room in the Marshall University Memorial Student Center on MU's Huntington campus, with a reception and silent auction to be held before the dinner at 6 p.m.
Outback Steakhouse will provide a full-course dinner with desserts by Paula Vega Cakes for those in attendance. All proceeds from the dinner will directly benefit the Scottish Rite Child Speech-Language Program through the Speech and Hearing Center, which serves as a training site for students in the Department of Communication Disorders at Marshall University. Tickets are still available and can be purchased through the Department of Communication Disorders in the Marshall University College of Health Professions by calling 304-696-3640.