Tuesdays, I take Maura for private speech therapy. We just started last month, but already, I see how the private speech therapist is filling in the blanks where the school speech therapist can’t always fill due to time constraints. It’s making for a very nice balance with Maura.
Today, Maura worked on beginning S sounds. Like stop, sticker, star. She’s doing really well with it all. I will admit though, I had a flashback to my speech therapy days. And they weren’t as fun as Maura’s.
As a child, I had a horrible speech problem. I was pretty much unintelligible for years. I couldn’t pronounce S, Sh, Ch, J, Z’s, soft G’s and R’s. I spent years in speech therapy getting no where. I really hated going to speech. I hated the drills I was supposed to do, that got me no where. I hated how she would record my voice and then make me listen to it. To this day, I hate hearing myself on tape, which I guess is because of that.
Oddly enough, or not, I never heard my speech problem in my head. In my head, I sounded like everyone else. I knew I didn’t, but I guess I translated it.
In eighth grade, I finally fixed the problem. It basically took figuring out where to place my tongue correctly. I retrained my tongue and brain to work together correctly until it become second nature. I managed this in about three months, which in a way is impressive considering I had to learn how to form every letter in a new way and break the habits of thirteen year. My kids speech therapists are always impressed to hear how bad my speech was as a child. They never guess it before I tell them.
One weird little fact – I love to sing. But singing and mispronunciation don’t mix. So when I was about in sixth grade, I learned how to sing without the speech problems. So well that I auditioned for choir in 8th grade and the choir director smiled when I was done, asked me a question and then when I began to speak, the surprise on her face was evident. I did make the choir by the way.
I’ve gone on to have four children…who all needed some form of speech therapy. I joked to the speech therapist at the elementary school that I was her job security. And at the rate I gather speech knowledge, I shall be expecting my honorary degree in speech language pathology any day now, thank you very much!