This annual event provides opportunities to raise awareness about communication disorders and to promote treatment that can improve the quality of life for those who experience problems with speaking, understanding, or hearing. Over 40 million Americans are affected by speech-language or hearing disorders. Charlotte Speech & Hearing Center (CSHC) celebrates BHSM by recognizing Speedway Children's Charities generosity and support of children's communication needs since 2001. Funding support from SCC has enabled CSHC to serve hundreds of children with speech-language and hearing impairments through evaluation and treatment. SCC has also provided funds to purchase necessary clinical equipment for the identification of hearing loss in children as young as newborn.

In honor of BHSM we are offering free speech-language and hearing screenings to the public this May.

CSHC was founded by the Junior League of Charlotte in 1967 as the first speech and hearing center in NC. In 1969, the United Way of the Central Carolinas took over funding and CSHC has remained a UW agency ever since. The mission is "to improve the quality of life by helping individuals communicate effectively." Last year the Center provided approximately 20,000 services to over 8,000 individuals with speech-language or hearing disabilities. They offer services to anyone in the greater Charlotte region, and provide a sliding fee scale and scholarship fund for those needing financial assistance.

The Center has many community programs as well, primarily through early identification and intervention. For example, the Step Ahead program provides free speech-language and hearing screenings at childcare facilities in low-income neighborhoods. They have several language and literacy programs that provide specialized and intensive instruction to at-risk preschoolers to improve their chances for school success. The Hearing Services Bank provides free hearing aids and associated services to children, as well as seniors, in need.

Programs and services such as these illustrate why funding provided by individuals and agencies such as SCC is crucial to the success of children in our community. Communication disorders are so prevalent and their effect is potentially devastating. CSHC is grateful that SCC recognizes the importance of our mission as we strive to reach even more underserved or unidentified children in our community. With continued support from SCC and others we hope to expand our programs so we can meet the abundant and critical need present in so many of our neighborhoods.