Children’s Clinic Articles

From the Clinic (April 2019)

posted Mar 29, 2019, 7:49 PM by San Jose Scottish Rite

Indy is an enjoyable 15 year old boy who has been seen at the Scottish Rite Childhood Language Disorders Clinic secondary to delays with pragmatics and social communication. Pragmatics is one of the five areas of language development that helps us navigate our relationships with others, regulate ourselves to our environment, and maintain attention so that we can learn new things and interact appropriately with others. Indy participates in our “Social Thinking” program to learn social executive functioning skills, which helps our students learn how to collaborate with others and problem solve through situations using a variety of strategies.  The “Social Thinking” program is based on extensive research from Michelle Garcia Winner, a renowned Speech and Language Pathologist, who has studied social thinking and how best to help children who have difficulty navigating their social interactions at home, school and in the community.

Indy has been working on utilizing key concepts to practice his social executive functioning skills such as, following the group plan, thinking with his eyes, keeping his body in the group, using whole body listening, understanding hidden rules and expected and unexpected behavior, making smart guesses verses wacky guesses, using flexible thinking verses stuck thinking, understanding the size of the problem, and sharing an imagination.  Social communication and social executive functioning skills help us participate in group activities and to interact with others in a way that helps everyone feel comfortable.  Teaching these concepts has helped Indy relate to others using empathic thinking and perspective taking, two skills which relate to early developing skills for language and cognition, central coherence, joint attention and intention, emotional regulation, self-regulation and theory of mind. Without these basic building blocks a person will have difficulty collaborating, negotiating, and learning as part of a group.

Indy’s mom has seen an improvement in Indy’s social thinking skills since treatment was initiated. She stated, “Speech at Scottish Rite has been great. Rachel has a deep understanding of his needs in social/behavioral speech and has provided excellent tools to take home and share at school.” She further commented that the therapy Indy has received has been “wonderfully effective” and “fantastic”. 

Indy has made great progress understanding and using many of these concepts during our therapy time. And his mother is introducing the key concepts to Indy’s teachers at school to help carryover his skills outside of our therapy time together. I am particularly proud of his Indy’s perseverance and I am looking forward to continuing our learning time together!


From the Clinic (March 2019)

posted Mar 4, 2019, 7:53 PM by San Jose Scottish Rite

Arthur is a sweet and gentle six year-old boy who Ms. Karen and Ms. Jenna provided speech therapy services for up until last month. He loved to play with foam blocks, tree house toys, toy elevators, and animals. His favorite books were Goodnight Moon, and The Very Hungry Caterpillar which we have in the clinic with matching felt pieces and board. He mostly enjoyed telling his clinicians the whole story that he had memorized via online videos. His clinician would withhold turning the page of the book until he had produced the entirety of sentences on the pages. Another thing Arthur would love to do was sing Whitney Houston’s song “I will always love you” into a toy microphone. His clinician would take turns with him singing parts of the song and he would have to fill in the blanks the lyrics at the end of her sentences. This was one of the ways Ms. Jenna would try to stimulate Arthur’s speech output.

Arthur had attended our clinic for eighteen months, secondary to a diagnoses of an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Arthur’s main challenge was that he had difficulty focusing on the clinician’s task at hand (a non-preferred task). He tended to want to sing songs that were unrelated to his learning task. It is possible that the task was difficult for him so he wanted to sooth himself or “check out” with calming toons or phrases he had memorized from musical toys. This behavior is called scripting. There were times when his clinician would sing the tune that he was singing to the non-preferred task with different words to try to have him “check back in” to the clinician’s task.  Arthur was often content playing by himself, so the clinician would put her hand on top of his hand and keep it from moving until he described what he was doing or what he wanted to do with the toy. This technique made for a much more vocal session!

Arthur had been working on producing “he” and “she,” “boy and “girl” and “yes” and “no” responses correctly when picture or object describing. He also worked on offering friendly greetings and goodbyes to his clinicians while facing them and looking them in the eyes. While “yes” and “no” responses were improving, the other concepts had been very challenging for Arthur to grasp. Arthur’s mother and father had both been involved in his treatment and occasionally participated in the treatment sessions. His parents had worked hard to implement the techniques from therapy. They liked to use his favorite books, videos, and songs as motivation for good behavior and participation. We will continue to address the above goals when he returns to treatment here in the future. Arthur had met his goal to consistently and independently request a toy that was in or outside the therapy room with one of his clinicians without reaching out and taking it. Great Job Arthur! It is our hope that he will be able to carryover this behavior across settings and different people.

Arthur’s parents learned about our clinic from another parent at his school. According to Arthur’s parents, before receiving services at our clinic, his “pronunciation of words was not clear and he spoke only a few sentences.” Since receiving eighteen months of speech therapy here, “He is able to ask for the things he wants much more clearly. He has also learned more words and knows how to answer more questions.” Arthur’s parents noted, “Ms. Jenna and Ms. Karen are very helpful, friendly and responsible. They always try to accommodate us with schedule day and time changes. They always do their best to teach Arthur. We will be recommending this clinic to others as it is beneficial for San Jose residents, useful for speech and language services, and helpful for children to improve their speech. We love this clinic!”


From the Clinic (February 2019)

posted Feb 10, 2019, 4:49 PM by San Jose Scottish Rite

Anna is a sweet and playful four-year-ten-month old girl who has been receiving speech and language therapy services with Miss Karen at the San Jose Scottish Rite Speech and Language Clinic once a week since July 2017. She is being discharged from our clinic soon to be placed back at the end of our waitlist due to our 18-month time limit policy. Miss Karen also sees Anna’s three-year-old sister, Esther for speech and language therapy services at our clinic and has enjoyed getting to know her family over the last year and a half.

Anna's adoptive mother and father Erika and David Spence first adopted Anna's older brother, Eli, eight years ago in 2011. In 2015, Eli's biological father and his girlfriend lost custody of Anna when she was four months old. The Spences requested to adopt Anna so that the two half -siblings could grow up in the same family. Erika and David ended up adopting Anna and her two younger sisters who were born in 2015.  All three girls presented with speech and language delays and overall developmental delays. They have adjusted well into their new home and are much healthier, happier, and are now receiving services to meet their needs in speech therapy, physical therapy, and educational needs.

During therapy, Anna has been working on expanding her vocabulary, such as adding verbs to her repertoire, increasing her utterance length, improving her ability to imitate the L sound, and improving her articulation of multisyllabic words. She has worked very hard and made tremendous progress. Anna enjoys playing with the barbie dolls, horses, and cars during our therapy sessions. She has also become well known in the clinic amongst the other clients and parents who attend speech therapy around the same time as her. She has become very social with the other children at the clinic, initiating conversations with them, playing with them in the waiting room. The other speech-language pathologists and parents at this clinic have been offering Anna a lot of praise recently about her progress in her speech clarity and expressive language!

Anna’s mother learned about our clinic when she was looking for resources for her eldest child. Prior to receiving services at this clinic, Anna’s mother reported that her language was disorganized. She was difficult to understand due to having few words and multiple articulation errors. She is now speaking in short sentences and her speech clarity has improved significantly. Her mother reports that the most rewarding part about receiving services here has been seeing Anna gaining confidence and self-worth. “Our experience has been very good. Anna’s therapist is very kind, patient, and professional. It has been such an excellent resource.” Anna’s family is thankful for our services and would tell other parents about the clinic.


From the Clinic (January, 2019)

posted Jan 2, 2019, 2:34 PM by San Jose Scottish Rite

We are so pleased to host yet another intern from the Department of Communicative Disorders & Sciences Department at San Jose State University. Shareen Dhillon, a second year student in the Master’s program at SJSU, has worked diligently this past fall semester during her externship working under the supervision of Rachel Sense, M.A., CCC-SLP, and Karen Wong, M.S., CCC-SLP.


Originally from Yuba City, CA, Shareen always knew she wanted to work in a profession to help others. Growing up, she wanted to be a teacher as she had family members that enjoyed the teaching profession. However, once she learned about the field of communication disorders and speech-language pathology, Shareen was hooked. She is looking forward to working in a private practice with children once she graduates in May 2019 with her M.A. in Education with a Concentration in Speech-Language Pathology.


She enjoys working with each child to help them “find their voice in their own way”. Shareen also enjoys the collaborative environment fostered in the field of speech-language pathology in which you interact and work with other professionals and family members to help the child progress in their speech and language skills.  “I have truly enjoyed my time at Scottish Rite Clinic. I have learned so much since I started here. When I first started I did not have much experience in the areas of articulation, fluency, or early intervention. However, with the help of my supervisors, they have taught me so much. They introduced me to specific programs such as SATPAC and Lindamood LiPS. They have let me use their own personal materials as well as given me resources to provide therapy. I want to thank everyone at Scottish Rite for allowing me to be an extern student for the semester and making me feel so welcome!”


We are thankful that Shareen was able to spend time with our clinic to help the children and families we serve. We wish Shareen all the best with her new ventures!

From the Clinic (December 2018)

posted Dec 29, 2018, 11:18 AM by San Jose Scottish Rite

Tate is a vivacious and energetic five year old boy who has been seen at the San Jose Scottish Rite Childhood Language Disorders Clinic secondary to a moderate phonological disorder.  When Tate first started at our clinic, his mother reported that he was difficult to understand and was behind his peers with his speech sound development. She explained that he would often get frustrated because he could not communicate effectively. 


Tate has worked very hard since treatment started and his mother has noticed a difference! She explained that Tate’s speech “has improved leaps and bounds since he has been visiting with Rachel. Before you had to listen very closely to what he said to understand him but now he is able to do a better job articulating his thoughts”.  While Tate continues to need help with his speech, he is making strong gains toward his speech goals.


When Tate’s mom was asked about her thoughts regarding the services Tate has received from our clinic, his mother was so kind and gracious. She stated, “One of the reasons we sought out help for my son was because he was so frustrated about feeling that people did not understand him. It often led to meltdowns, fights or tears. Since Tate has started at the Scottish Rite Speech clinic, he has [made] great strides in terms of his confidence and articulation.  With Tate feeling better about his own words, the frustration and discord we [were] experiencing at home has decreased. Rachel is amazing. I truly feel like she cares about Tate and his success. She is so understanding and patient. I am so thankful for how she has helped Tate.  Since working with Rachel Tate feels better about what he is saying. Although it is not perfect, it is an improvement, one that he personally feels. I have nothing but good things to say about the clinic. I am thankful and want this clinic to be available for those who need help. I can see that it takes donations and support from the community”.


Tate’s family has been a blessing to our clinic. His determination and the support from his mother have definitely contributed to his continued progress. Part of his success is that he is supported by the members of the San Jose Scottish Rite. Thank you for the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of children in our community.  We appreciate you and so does Tate!


From the Clinic (November, 2018)

posted Nov 8, 2018, 5:47 PM by San Jose Scottish Rite

Liat is a beautiful eight-year-old who has attended our clinic’s speech therapy program for the last year and-a-half. She has been working hard on her articulation skills practicing her “sh,” and “th, ”sounds and all the different kinds of /r/’s.  Liat loves to read, make up games and pretend she is the teacher while the teacher is her student. She has an amazing imagination and work ethic. I am pleased to announce that Liat has met all of her speech therapy goals and will be discharged from our clinic very soon!  Liat is able to produce /r/ while reading, holding a conversation, picture describing, singing, and speaking to a fast paced metronome. While she may need an occasional reminder to produce an “or” instead of an “er”, she can easily produce the majority of her /r/’s. I am so proud of you, Liat, for your tremendous work and willingness to improve your speech! You are a fantastic young lady!! And you will be dearly missed!!

Liat’s Mother wanted to say a few words about her experience at our clinic:

 “I heard of the San Jose Scottish Rite Clinic from a friend. At the time, my daughter was unable to enunciate several letters properly. For example, her “r” sounded like a “w,” as she would say, “wabbit” instead of “rabbit.” Although it took 1.5 years of weekly visits and some home practice, Liat’s progress with Ms. Jenna was definitely worth the wait! Not only is Liat’s speech easier to understand, she is also more confident when speaking up at school. The clarity of her words will certainly help with her day to day conversations and public speaking. The intimacy of a smaller clinic allowed for a more personal experience. However, the most rewarding part of receiving services here was the ability for Liat to establish a personal relationship with Ms. Jenna. Furthermore, practicing speech through “play” made her feel like it was “game time.” Due to these circumstances, my daughter looked forward to attending speech therapy each week. We are incredibly grateful for the Scottish Rite Clinic and Foundation. If not for the Rite Care Clinic’s probono services, acquiring speech therapy via our insurance would have had a significant financial impact on our family. Thank you Rite Care Clinic and Ms. Jenna for all your patience and dedication in helping Liat achieve her goal. We are so thankful for your help!”


From the Clinic (October 2018)

posted Oct 11, 2018, 12:02 PM by San Jose Scottish Rite

Thank you for sending me to my first RiteCare Conference!   I attended the conference in Los Angeles, CA on August 8-10, 2018, hosted by the California Scottish Rite Foundation. I had the opportunity to meet many different speech-language pathologists and reading specialists serving clients at RiteCare clinics and affiliated clinics from across the United States.

This conference had a track focusing on speech and language topics as well as literacy topics such as dyslexia. It was a wonderful experience having the opportunity to attend a conference with fellow RiteCare clinicians.  Additionally, it was very helpful that the conference was small enough to allow some time to speak to the presenters one-on-one in order to obtain further clarification regarding specific questions that came up during the courses. I felt so fortunate to be able to learn about a wide variety of topics that hit home for me. For example, a team of speech-language pathologists from the Orange County RiteCare Childhood Language Center gave a presentation about how to better conduct speech and language assessments with children from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, which is very important to us because we have children who come from households who primarily speak Spanish, Vietnamese, Cantonese, Mandarin, Tagalog, Hindi, as well as many other languages. It is very important that our speech-language assessments reflect the fact that our clients may be exposed to multiple languages and may be learning English as a second language. The team from the Orange County RiteCare Childhood Language Center gave a list of useful resources that we will be able to use in our future assessments.

I also learned about identifying dyslexia in a clinical setting, parent training for young children who are minimally verbal, repeated interactive read-alouds to target vocabulary-building and language skills, and about supervision for training the professionals of the future. The course on supervision was particularly important and special to me because I am supervising a graduate student clinician for the first time. I am excited to bring the new information that I learned to the table and share with my fellow clinicians at our clinic. We are looking forward to implementing the new strategies discussed during the conference!



Karen Wong, M.A., CCC-SLP


From the Clinic (September 2018)

posted Sep 3, 2018, 6:24 PM by San Jose Scottish Rite

Jacob is a five-year-old boy who attended speech and language therapy services at our clinic from May 2017 until July 2018. Jacob loves to play with his twin sister, Colette, and his older sister, Sophia. He also loves his scooter, playing with his Scooby Doo toys, and playing with his cat. Lately, he has been asking his mom for another kitten! He is very talkative and playful in therapy and has many stories to share with Miss Karen. He loves to tell stories about his twin sister and his cat. He is often thinking of others and always requests that we give a prize to his sister at the end of the session as well.

Jacob was referred to the Scottish Rite Childhood Language Disorders Clinic by his pediatrician when he was two years old. He had a history of many ear infections and fluid in his ears,  requiring pressure-equalizing tubes to be placed when he was two years told. He had to have them replaced this April. Jacob’s hearing was being affected by the frequent ear infections and the fluid in the middle ear and he was missing out on exposure to many high frequency sounds during a period of his childhood that was very critical to speech and language development. This may also have contributed to him omitting the final consonant from words.


Jacob’s speech therapy sessions at our clinic focused on the elimination of phonological processes, production of multisyllabic words, articulation of various speech sounds, and expressive language. One of Jacob’s phonological processes is Final Consonant Deletion, when a child omits the last sound in a word, such as leaving the last /p/ sound off of the word “pop.” He was also missing many speech sounds, such as /f/, /v/, /k/, /g/, /s/, “sh,” “ch,” “j”, /l/ and /r/. Jacob would replace many sounds in the middle of the word with an /h/ sound, even when the middle sound was a sound that he was currently able to make, such as producing “baby” as “bay-hee.” He now has more awareness of this and he uses many more consonant sounds in the middle of words.  He has greatly expanded his speech sound inventory (the collection of sounds he is able to produce) and is now able to imitate /f/, /v/, /s/ at the word level. He is now also producing /p/, /b/, /t/, /d/, /k/, /g/ in all positions of words when prompted and given feedback to correct himself if he eliminates it in the final word position.Prior to getting speech therapy, Jacob would replace many sounds with an “H” Sound.  He couldn’t say any “S” sounds and left out many sounds in the middle of words,” said Laurin, Jacob’s mother, “Since treatment began, he’s more aware of saying the middle sounds of words such as “popping” instead of “poh-hing” He is so much more clear in his speaking now.”

Jacob’s family has worked hard with him at home to enforce carryover of the skills that he has learned with Miss Karen.  “We have all tried to help him out when needed as he gets frustrated when we don’t understand him. The sounds that are being worked on that week in therapy are focused on during the week at home as well.”


Jacob’s mother said, “We’ve greatly appreciated how generous Scottish Rite has been with letting Jacob get therapy for his speech free of charge. We are so grateful, and have seen such a huge improvement in his speech.” They have also enjoyed their experience here because, “The experience has been very easy.  We are able to watch him through the double-sided window as he gets his therapy and we see him using many fun toys to play and learn at the same time.  He’s always rewarded at the end of his session which has helped his focus during his session.”


Laurin’s advice for other parents is: “I would tell other parents to seek out as much help as possible and as early as possible.  The sooner you get help the better for the child.  Jacob couldn’t hear many soft sounds because he had a lot of fluid behind his ear drum.  We didn’t realize it at the time because everyone was telling us boys speak later than girls.  Luckily the doctor told us that is not really the case and we got help.  Had we been more aware he could have been treated even earlier.  Also it’s very important to work with your child at home every day as well as getting regular therapy.”


Jacob, you and your family will be greatly missed at our clinic. Jacob had to discontinue services at our clinic when he and his family moved away in July to be near their family in Louisiana and start a new chapter. We will miss you and your silly and cheerful antics! We wish the Antonowitsch family the best in Louisiana!


From the Clinic (August 2018)

posted Aug 7, 2018, 8:14 PM by San Jose Scottish Rite

Like some kids, Gavin is a child who has been in and out of therapy for speech since he was in kindergarten. His family and a few close friends were the only ones who could understand him consistently.  Talking on the phone was difficult and he was often asked to repeat words and sentences which led to frustration and self-limiting participation at school.  At school he was pulled from his classroom for 30 minutes of speech treatment sessions twice a week, tapering to once a week beginning in second grade.  He disliked being singled out and missing class time negatively affected his self-image. His mother reflected on the therapy at school stating that “Progress was steady, at best”. His small speech group consisted of students with various production concerns, most which didn’t match Gavin’s.  During his 6th grade IEP meeting at school he was deemed ineligible for services because his speech production was not impacting his education.  Yet, Gavin still needed services as his speech continued to be negatively impacted by articulation errors. His mother, a local teacher, found out about our clinic from a student in her class who was receiving services.  She said that the parents of her student praised the San Jose Scottish Rite and encouraged her to pursue speech support for Gavin.


Once speech services were started at the San Jose Scottish Rite, his mother reported that Gavin’s self-confidence skyrocketed. She stated that now “He speaks audibly and clearly.  Gone are the days of asking him to repeat himself at home, or the embarrassment of repeating statements in social settings.  Public settings are no longer stressful for Gavin because a listener might not understand him.”  


Gavin’s family was dedicated to making the most of Gavin’s services at the clinic. Clinically, he needed substantial supports, such as PROMPTs and tactile cues, and other therapeutic techniques to help him produce his error sounds correctly. Gavin’s hard work and the dedication of his family paid off. Gavin has recently been discharged from services as he has met all of his goals! His mother reported that the San Jose Scottish Rite Speech and Language Clinic “provided services that we could not have reasonably pursued through other means.  Everyone we’ve encountered has been very professional and welcoming.  I think it’s fair to say that our weekly appointments were enjoyable, especially for the amount of hard work and effort both by provider and client. Honestly, Rachel’s kindness and professionalism has been the most rewarding aspect of receiving services.  She is astute at recognizing concerns, and easily translates that concern into focused practice that cultivate results.  Rachel honors where each child is coming from, quickly develops a rapport with them, and bases services focused on client interests.  The results ‘speak’ for themselves.  Connections mean everything in generating buy in to practice, and Rachel genuinely cares about her ‘kids.’”


We are so proud of Gavin and his achievement! He is a testament to the reason why the San Jose Scottish Rite Speech and Language Clinic exists. We provide services to children and their families when they cannot reasonably afford, qualify, or otherwise find other speech and language services when they need help. Your support for our clinic helps us continue to tell these stories of encouragement and success! Thank you for continuing to donate to our clinic. We appreciate your help!


From the Clinic (July 2018)

posted Jul 9, 2018, 7:32 PM by San Jose Scottish Rite

Meet Hannah! She is a joyous four year old who loves to play with the babies, Barbies and pretend food toys when she comes to our clinic once a week for speech therapy services. She is a hard worker who loves to laugh and smile. Hannah is being seen at our clinic secondary to a diagnosis of an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). This means that Hannah has difficulties regulating her body at times and needs assistance with social understanding and expectations. She is taught daily on how to provide friendly greetings, goodbyes and hold conversations while facing her communication partner. Since she loves doll play and interaction we get several opportunities to practice beginning, maintaining and ending conversations. According to her mother Cindy, Hannah had difficulty sequencing events, following two-step unrelated commands and identifying categories before speech therapy began here. Cindy reported that all of these skills have since improved after attending therapy at our clinic. In addition, she noted that Hannah does well with following directions at home! Cindy wrote that the most rewarding things about receiving services here are seeing her daughter’s, “speech improve and seeing how much she enjoys being at the Scottish Rite,” children’s clinic. Cindy mentioned that they have had a good and positive experience at our clinic and that Hannah loves to work with her clinicians. Ms. Jenna has had the pleasure of working with Hannah twice a week since December of 2016. Mrs. Cynthia more recently has been seeing Hannah once a week since the end of January 2018 as a San Jose State University graduate student under Ms. Jenna’s supervision. Above is a picture of Mrs. Cynthia and Hannah doing the crescent moon yoga pose while taking a sensory break between activities. Mrs. Cynthia wanted to share a little bit about her experience with Hannah:

“Hannah was the first child I had the opportunity of working with at the Scottish Rite Clinic.  Needless to say I was nervous at first, but seeing Hannah’s excitement for therapy was infectious.  Hannah has a happiness about her that she brings to each activity and goal we work on.  Even when Hannah experiences some difficulties with tasks, and requires the clinician to provide added support, her smile and participation never fades.  Social interactions are a big part of working with children with an ASD, as they tend to often demonstrate isolated play.  After a few weeks of treatment, Hannah would initiate play inclusion with myself.  This behavior made me happy, seeing the progress with her social skills and the enjoyment of building rapport.

Working with children like Hannah, at the Scottish Rite Clinic has been a rewarding opportunity for me.  I enjoy seeing the children and helping them progress with their speech, language, and social skills.  This experience has been rewarding, and it could not have been possible without the support and guidance of the talented Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs) here.  I had the wonderful opportunity working with the amazingly talented and caring SLPs Ms. Rachel and Ms. Jenna.  Their passion for working with the children and their families is inspiring as I begin my career.  Thank you to the staff, clients, and families who have welcomed me and made this experience worthwhile.”

Thank you Mrs. Cynthia for all your wonderful work with our children at the clinic!! We will surly miss you now that your externship is complete. Congratulations on your graduation and all our well wishes to you in the future!

And Hannah...Please keep up your excellent speech work! You are a super star!!


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