Clinic facilities

Children’s Speech and Language Therapy Clinic Expands North St. Louis

The new office will allow the Walker Scottish Rite Clinic to help an additional 30-40 children.

ST. LOUIS — Children who need help with their speech and language skills now have a place to go in North St. Louis.

The Walker Scottish Rite Clinic, a program of the University of Maryville, has a new office on Prairie Avenue in the city’s Jeff-Vander-Lou neighborhood. The program was created to give families better access to where their services are needed most.

The clinic has been providing speech therapy services to children ages 2 to 6 at no cost to families since 1988.

On Wednesday, Lakeecia Thomas brought her 3-year-old son, Mason, to the new location, which opened in June.

“We live about ten minutes away, so an easy drive for us,” Thomas said.

Thomas and other children who participated in the program practiced reading and writing exercises.

“These kids come to me and sometimes they have no words at all or just a few and within a few months it’s so great to see them become their own little people and really start to express themselves,” said Nina Mendoza, a speech and language pathologist at the clinic.

This location is new to the northern city. The clinic has partnered with Pastor Andrew Alexander on a space at the Tabernacle Hub. It’s a former school turned church and resource center that shapes community within community.

“It brings me great joy to know that we’ve had the chance to play a small part in helping people get what they need and giving hope,” Alexander said. “Because we often come across people who think it can’t happen in our neighborhood. Or if it does, it’s not going to stay.”

The Walker Scottish Rite Clinic serves approximately 500 children each year. The new office will allow them to help 30 to 40 additional families.

“Whenever we can help families get the services they need for their children who need speech therapy. It can make a big difference. Being well in the community makes a big difference,” said director Jacob Gutshall.

“It’s a blessing to really see that Mason is exposed to the resources that are here as well as the professionals that are here who really take their time with him and are really dedicated to his development,” Thomas added.

If a child needs help, parents can contact the clinic who will then organize a screening to determine if the child needs the services and begin the referral process.