By Stan Ashbee
Sunny South News
May is Hearing and Speech Month and the Picture Butte Elks want to raise awareness throughout Lethbridge County and across the province. According to a media release from the Elks, many Albertans take their hearing and speech for granted but one in six people has a speech, language or hearing disorder. The media release states children are at risk of developing social, emotional, behavioural and/or learning problems if speech, language and/or hearing problems are not identified early. Communication, the media release notes, is a vital link between human beings. Through our ears we gain much of our information about others and the world around us. We need to ensure all children have access to newborn hearing screening and timely intervention services to enable them to live their lives to their fullest potential. Newborn hearing screening is an essential first step in the strategy for identifying children with permanent childhood hearing loss and should be a standard of care in Canada. Early intervention is critical for children identified with communication problems, the media release states. If you suspect a child you know has a hearing loss or speech problem, encourage the family to contact a physician, audiologist, or speech-language pathologist. The Elks of Canada proudly continue to support early hearing detection and intervention programs.
“We have ISTAR, which is an institute for stuttering up in Edmonton and they teach kids how to talk if they’re stuttering. It’s just an excellent program and we’ve been supporting it for years,” said Ralph Oldenburger, the Picture Butte Elks past exalted ruler. Oldenburger has been an Elk for over 40 years. ISTAR, or the Institute for Stuttering Treatment and Research, is based out of the University of Alberta.
The butterfly is an important aspect to Hearing and Speech Month and there’s a mantra, “Just like butterflies…… the children we help to hear and communicate are transformed.” The transformation children go through when they learn to hear and communicate, the media release states, parallels the experience of a butterfly emerging from a cocoon of silence ready to spread its wings and encounter the world.
Oldenburger said ISTAR was looking for another organization to partner with and the Elks were chosen. “All the Elks, all across the province, support it. If we help one kid from stuttering — it’s worth it,” said Oldenburger. For more information contact a local Elks Lodge or call the Elks of Canada toll-free line 1-888-THE-ELKS (843-3557) or visit online at http://www.elks-canada.org.
Partial proclamation: Whereas, the Elks of Canada boast a long and proud history of advocating for early hearing detection and continue to pursue ways to assist in screening and intervention services for all children born in Canada; And whereas, newborn hearing screening and early access to intervention services are vitally important to effective treatment and development of language and speech; And whereas, assistance is needed to co-ordinate early hearing detection and intervention programs in Canada through consultation and partnerships with qualified professionals in the area of hearing and speech impairment.