ATLANTA (CBS46) – Students with speech impediments who are having a hard time being understood while wearing masks are finding relief thanks to one local nonprofit.

Dunwoody speech pathologist Tim Mackesey formed the foundation called Raise Your Voice after seeing the toll the pandemic has taken on some of his clients. His goal is to get see-through masks in the hands of as many students with speech impediments as possible.

Eleven-year-old old Sam Troester said when he wears a regular mask others can’t see, he feels like he's trying to finish his thought.

“When people try to fill in my blanks, that’s really hard for me,” said Sam.

“I was a kid who stutters,” said Mackesey, “and if I were one today, I would want to be seen.”

Mackesey told CBS46 what recently happened when a teacher asked one of his clients, a teenage girl wearing a face covering, her name.

“Her eyes are big,” he said. “Nothing’s coming out and the teacher said, ‘You don’t have a name?’”

If she’d been wearing a clear mask, Mackesey said, the teacher would’ve been able to see that she was attempting to speak.

Sam’s mother Tricia said the mask could be a game changer for her son.

“I’m a little biased, but I think he has a lot of great thoughts and a lot of great things to say,” she said, “and I want him to be able to communicate clearly and without frustration.”

Copyright 2021 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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