University to host annual fundraiser for children with communication disorders

At three years old, Troy Roswall was diagnosed with a receptive-expressive language disorder, which prohibited him from being understood by his family and friends. Due to the severity of his speech delays, Troy’s mother knew he needed help.

Since he has participated in therapy through the Marshall University Speech and Hearing Center, Jill Roswall said the changes in her son’s life are like night and day.

"When we first discovered the issue, he wasn’t able to communicate or express his thoughts or feelings," Roswall said. "Once we began therapy, things began to progressively improve – first he was able to imitate animal sounds, then his ABCs and now he can count and talk in full sentences. He has come so far in such a short amount of time. I have learned so much just by observing the clinicians and the students who work with him at the Speech and Hearing Center. I would recommend their services to any parent looking for help. I really don’t know where we would be today without Marshall and the support of the Scottish Rite Masons."

Troy is one of many children who have been helped over the years through the Scottish Rite Childhood Speech and Language Program at Marshall University. Since 2002, the Scottish Rite program has provided comprehensive services to children with communication disorders, without regard to a family’s ability to pay. Dr. Karen McNealy, chair of the university’s Department of Communication Disorders and a board member for the Scottish Rite Foundation, said the foundation has raised over half of a million dollars since its inception and has given much of that to Marshall University’s Speech and Hearing Center.

"Our Scottish Rite Masons are dedicated to helping children with speech problems and providing life-changing services to our families," McNealy said. "Because of their generous contributions and because of events like our annual dinner, we are able to help over 50 families in the Tri-state region each year. We hope to be able to help even more children after this year’s dinner."

The 11th annual Scottish Rite Spring Dinner will take place at 6 p.m., Saturday, April 7, in the Don Morris Room in the Marshall University Memorial Student Center. A silent auction will take place throughout the evening, with featured items including a basketball signed by Houston Rockets Head Coach Mike D’Antoni and Marshall Men’s Basketball Head Coach Dan D’Antoni, as well as a 50-inch big-screen TV and a weeklong stay on Hilton Head Island.

Sodexo Catering will provide a full-course Tour of Italy dinner, with appetizers by La Famiglia and desserts by Fratelli’s Italian Restaurant 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. Tickets and corporate sponsorships are still available and can be purchased through the university’s Department of Communication Disorders by calling 304-696-3640.