Royal Arch Research Assistance

What is Royal Arch Research Assistance?
Since its conception in 1974, Royal Arch Research Assistance (R.A.R.A) has been the world’s leading philanthropy dedicated to helping children with Central Auditory Processing Disorders. R.A.R.A., through the contributions of the General Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons, International, supports the Center for Central Auditory Research at Colorado State University, where continuous efforts are being made to understand and treat individuals with Central Auditory Processing Disorders.

The Beginning
At the 1972 Triennial meeting in Las Vegas, M.E. Edward Selby, P.G.H.P. of Ohio and Grand King of the General Grand Royal Arch Chapter, International proposed at the Grand King’s meeting that General Grand Chapter should have a unique and unified Philanthropy, one that would not conflict, detract or duplicate existing charities. In 1974 the R.A.R.A. was born after an extensive investigation. The plans were implemented in 1975 during M.E. Gordon Merrick’s term.

Central auditory processing disorder (CAPD) is a condition in which one has difficulty processing or interpreting auditory information when in less than the optimal listening environment. Individuals with CAPD typically have normal hearing acuity but are unable to efficiently process or interpret speech when in a minimally noisy environment. The majority of children and adults that we test at the Center for Central Auditory Research at Colorado State University can hear soft sounds but are unable to understand or process verbal information in an efficient manner in their daily lives. They often report that they are confused or become flustered in busy listening environments. Settings such as a classroom environment, the workplace, and social gatherings are often very difficult for them because of confusing verbal stimuli.

Our research has led us to believe that the knowledge of the workings of the central auditory nervous system (CANS) is critical so that the proper diagnosis and management can be initiated. Each of the human senses have special areas of representation in the brainstem and brain. We believe that the auditory system provides perhaps the most important of those sensory systems because it gives us an avenue of verbal communication.

For a number of years, the study of CAPD in children has been the primary focus of our work at the Center for Central Auditory Research. Because of the complexity of the CANS and the subtlety of this disorder, our work has involved many aspects of human function. These include the study of CANS function, speech and language ability, academic performance, emotional and behavioral function, and motor performance.

Our research has given us insight into the academic function of many of these children. For example, we have discovered that approximately 60% of the children with CAPD have a history of reading difficulty. This is especially true in early grade levels. In the early primary grades, as many as four-to-five children in a classroom may be challenged by an “overloading” of auditory information. This statistic alone would lead one to believe that implementing auditory structure in the classroom would benefit many children in their early classroom experiences.

Twenty years of research has produced numerous innovations in managing children and adults with CAPD. Inappropriate structure, incomprehensible demands, and tasks which continually stress the CANS will lead to failure. Because of recent developments in digital signal processing (DSP), the avenues of research into the enhancement of speech comprehension are unfolding. Collaborative work with electrical engineering has afforded exciting opportunities for unique and “cutting edge” technology. Recent research at the Center has shown that speech intelligibility can be significantly increased by “slow-down” the rate of speech using DSP techniques.

Research is continuing in collaboration with professionals in electrical and mechanical engineering, computer science, education, audiology, speech and language pathology, psychology, and occupational therapy in an effort to address the problems which plague children and adults with central auditory processing difficulties. Because of the support of the General Grand Chapter of the Royal Arch Masons, International, our direct management program has changed the lives of thousands of individuals with this disorder, With the addition of innovative technology and your continued support, we are excited about the potential benefits of this research for many years to come.

Joan M. Burleigh, Ph.D.
Comments of Appreciation from Colorado State University
We have greatly appreciated the support we have received from the General Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons International. Through your efforts, we have learned a great deal about this special condition which impacts a significant number of individuals in both pediatric and adult populations.

The study of the central auditory function is an intriguing endeavor. A central auditory processing disorder impacts the academic, work, and social behavior of the child and adult. We have been fortunate to be able to continue this study with the support of Royal Arch Research Assistance. With a multi-disciplinary approach which combines the expertise of individuals in various disciplines, we hope to expand our efforts in the study of this unique perceptual disorder. Hopefully, we will be able to make an even greater contribution to the enhancement of functioning of individuals with Central Auditory Processing Disorders.
Thank you again for all your support,
Joan M. Burleigh, M.A.
Center for Central Auditory Research

If you would like to take part in helping children with Central Auditory Processing Disorders, you can send your contributions to:
James B. Wall
Executive Director
P.O. Box 58070
Louisville, KY 40258
Please make your check payable to “R.A.R.A’

Certificates are designed for contributions of $25.00, $50.00, and $100.00 A $1000.00 dollars contribution receives a very impressive with a keystone in the center. Additional contributions of $500.00 add a small diamond to the pin. Certificates and pins are awarded to both individual donors and donating organizations. Donations are IRS deductible.

Other than the pin, a greater incentive might be that the research you have funded in part might very well have brought a better life to someone who was affected with CAPD, an important learning disability.