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Royal Ball run to benefit Augustana's speech center

April  30, 2013

The Royal Ball 5K Run for Autism, which will wind through Milan on June 22 to support autistic children in the Quad Cities area, will dedicate all the money it raises this year to the Augustana College Center for Speech, Language & Hearing.

The selection of the speech center was based on parent references, according to Jennifer Hartmann, the mother of a 10-year-old with autism and the founder of the Royal Ball Run Association.

“We talked to a lot of parents and, resoundingly, the parents who have participated in the program with Augustana have had nothing but positive results,” Hartmann said. “Choosing a program like Augustana’s will allow us to spread awareness about what kind of services are provided right here in the Quad Cities.”

The speech center provides services to more than 300 autistic children and young adults every year, including many who cannot afford the service. The director of the center, Dr. Allison Haskill, said additional funding will expand those services. “I was surprised and humbled to receive this kind of support,” she said.

The speech center also doubles as a hands-on training experience for Augustana students majoring in communication sciences and disorders. They work under the supervision of licensed and certified clinical staff, an arrangement that lowers the center’s operating costs while providing cutting-edge technology. The result is the lowest-cost service available anywhere in the Quad Cities area.

“I don’t view my clinical experience as community service, but rather an invaluable opportunity to help other people communicate more effectively,” said Kailey Falcon, an Augustana student clinician. “It’s an amazing experience to watch clients progress over the course of a term.”

Falcon said many students would name their work at the center as the highlight of their college career. Hartmann calls the students’ involvement a tremendous asset. “I think they are less likely to see the challenges and hindrances, and more likely to see the potential of these children,” Hartmann said. “That kind of approach is a phenomenal step forward for any case worker.”

The Royal Ball Run for Autism, and the dress-up Royal Ball for All that precedes it, will take place on June 21 and 22 this year. The race take place in Milan, and the ball is held at the Milan Community Center. Further information and online registration is available on the website.

Sam Schlouch
Director, Public Relations and Arts Promotion
(309) 794-7833
samschlouch@augustana.edu