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                At his 2 year old wellness check, our son’s pediatrician expressed concerns that our son was still not using more than a couple of words.  It was recommended that we call the Scottish Rite.  We first had our son’s ears checked and discovered that he had fluid in his ears. Our ENT put tubes in Noah’s ears, but told us that he believed that his speech difficulties were not a result of the fluid in his ears.  We hoped that he was wrong, but Noah’s speech difficulties continued. 

                Shortly thereafter Molly Beck started to see Noah once per week.  Each week she explained to us what she was doing, demonstrated how we could practice at home and provided materials.  She also made laminated picture cards for Noah to be able to tell us what he wanted to eat and to communicate other basic needs.  Noah would point and desperately try to tell us what was on his mind, but unfortunately, his speech attempts were unsuccessful.  The sounds that came out were unintelligible and his frustration was heart wrenching for us.  We so desperately wanted to know what he was saying, but we just couldn’t make it out unless we had visual clues.

                Noah was eventually diagnosed with moderate Verbal Apraxia of Speech and I really appreciated the way Molly adapted her instruction to specifically target the speech and language issues that are common with apraxia.  Because Noah often left off the endings of words and he mostly communicated monosyllabically, Molly worked on teaching him two word noun and verb combinations.  Practice with these phrases helped Noah learn to communicate more successfully.  He also began finishing the end of his words and eventually started to form longer sentences.  She continued to see Noah until he was about four and a half.  At that time he was able to express himself quite well.

                We are eternally grateful for the services provided by the Scottish Rite and the wonderful staff there, especially Molly Beck.  She made a huge difference in the life of our son and our family.  Our son’s inability to express himself was incredibly frustrating for him and for us.  He had difficulty playing with neighbor kids as well as the kids at his preschool.  I will never forget the kind efforts she made to arrange a play/support group for other kids with communication disorders.  She even went as far as to bring her own kids to the park for a play date.

                I also really appreciated the fact that Molly Beck and Martha Reeves listened to my concerns.  They were both knowledgeable and helpful when it came to identifying and assessing my son’s specific brain-based, speech disorder.  I had never heard of apraxia of speech before and being able to identify the possible cause of his issues allowed me to find online support and information that wasn’t readily available.  I learned that most people, including school staff and many therapists don’t have a good understanding of what it is.  I often went to Molly and Martha with questions and seeking advice.  They always made time to listen to me and to offer suggestions.  I can’t express enough how grateful I am.

                Until I became a parent of a child who was unable to do what is naturally learned by most people and therefore expected of all of us, I didn’t realize how devastating to a child’s social and emotional health speech disorders can be.  Children with speech difficulties face seclusion, frustration, isolation and loneliness.  I was so afraid for my son’s future success and happiness when I realized the difficult journey that he might be facing.  The thought of my son going through school without words was frightening.

                When Noah was about 3 ½, he had a major breakthrough in his speech.  Family, friends and neighbors all noticed immediately.  It was such a joyful time for us.  Molly continued to work with him and when it was time and eased him out of speech therapy with the promise that if he needed more support or follow-up services that she was there for us.

                The services provided by the Scottish Rite are a real blessing for families and the community of Great falls.

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