Learning how to read can be challenging for children, especially children with learning disabilities. A small clinic in downtown Cheyenne offers services for these children.
The Childhood Language Clinic is run by director Cindy Anderson, who’s been a part of the Clinic since 2005. Anderson is a speech language pathologist who works with 77 children this year.
“The Clinic was started in 1990, the person who worked here at that time left in 2004, I came in 2005 and I’ve been here ever since then,” Anderson said. “When I came, we had 16 kids on the list and as of today we have 77.”
Anderson doesn’t work alone and has two SPL aids, they are both currently finishing up their associates degrees as speech pathologist language assistants. A master’s is required to be a full SPL.
At the clinic, between Anderson and her two aids, they run 30-minute to two-hour sessions with the children they work with depending on the child and what they need. “We have some language groups, we do articulation, language, reading, dyslexia, plus general language.” She said. They also work with children who have autism.
Anderson works hard for these children. It can be harder some days than others when working with different children, but it doesn’t stop her from making sure the children are comfortable with their setting and what they decide to work on that day.
“We generally keep children until they have met their general goals, when they get close to goals we sometimes retest to make sure there’s nothing that we’re missing, but then they can graduate,” Anderson said. There are times where children stop coming because of different activities they’re involved in or if parents find it hard to get them to the clinic.
The age groups Anderson works with ranges from birth to 18; currently, their youngest client is 2 years old and the oldest student they work with is 18. “We have a big variety of ages and disabilities,” Anderson said.
The clinic has language groups that are either homeschool groups, children who come in during the day, or some after school hours. “Every session we start with a journal activity for our younger kids, sometimes it’s coloring a picture. Our older kids always have to write something. Depending on what they need, we can do reading or we can work with whatever language or dyslexia disability they need. We always end our sessions with reading a short book to our younger kids, and we do longer chapter books with the older kids,” Anderson said.
The clinic’s services are free of charge, “there is no charge for our services at the clinic because it is all sponsored by the Scottish Rite (Foundation),” she said. The clinic can be found in the Scottish Rite Masons building downtown.
Children are also welcome anytime of the year.
“We just have parents come in and fill out our questionnaires and if they come in with an IP or an IFSP from Stride or one of the schools, we use that, otherwise we’ll just do testing,” Anderson said. “One of the nice things is because we’re not state or federally funded we don’t have to follow all of the guidelines that the schools have to follow, so yes, they come in at any time of the year and if we feel like we can help them, they can be a part of our program.”
The clinic also has a summer program, which runs from June 7-July 19.
“We have kids in groups by ages and they’re here longer. Our littlest ones are here for 45 minutes, our older ones are here for two hours. There are some group time during that time and there is individuals time because there’s three of us, we can split them up when we need to,” Anderson said.
Anderson also said that in “August we’re going to have what we’re calling a ‘one week intensive,’ especially for our kids with dyslexia to try and get them back in school and being ready to do whatever they need to do for the next year.”