Robby is in his second year of speech therapy. I have noticed vast improvement with his articulation, but perhaps that is because I am so accustomed to his patterns. To be completely honest, I have no difficulty understanding him, yet I am reminded that speech therapy is still necessary as long as others struggle to comprehend his words. In order to thwart teasing when he becomes older, we have made improving his speech clarity a priority.
The majority of Robby's speech
issues stem from his hearing impairment, yet I also know that he
probably inherited some of his tendencies from me. I was enrolled in
speech therapy when I was Robby's age. I hated every moment I was forced
to work with the therapist. Sitting in her "office" (a term which I use
loosely because even I knew the space was nothing more than a
converted janitor's closet) I surrendered my recess time twice a week to
make my tongue move the way she demanded. I hated Tuesdays and
Thursdays because I knew I would have to work with her.
Speech Therapy was nothing more than repeating words written on
flashcards. It was both frustrating and boring. Although I knew that
Robby required therapy, I dreaded exposing him to the same lessons I
endured in the quest for the perfect "r."
loves his speech therapist. He enjoys spending time with her as they
share stories and jokes. She has done something my speech therapist was
never able to achieve: she has made her lessons fun and engaging!
to me, Robby's was invited to make a presentation to his class. He was
asked to practice all of his skills as he spoke about what makes his
family special. Although I wasn't there for his speech, both his teacher
and speech therapist were more than eager to fill me in when I picked
him up after school.
After a brief disclaimer that he was did
well, they proceeded to recount Robby's speech. This is what my little
cherub told his entire class:
"My family is special. My Momom has
one leg and uses a prosthetic. That's unique. My Dad doesn't have his
big toe and loves pickles. My Nana has two new inside knees and smiles a
lot. Grandma lives in Ohio and grows lots of beans. My Candy Papaw
lives in Texas and he is a real-life cowboy. My Nana Phara dances to
loud music wearing nothing but a boobie holder and people give her
Knowing that I needed to offer some clarity into the
family dynamics, I frantically began to explain Robby's interpretations.
My Dad does live in Texas but is not a cowboy. He has never ridden a
horse and rarely changes out of his suits on weekdays. He is the epitome
of an executive. More important, and contrary to Robby's description,
his wife is not a stripper. She owns a Middle Eastern restaurant which
features belly dancing. Robby saw her dance and was obviously oblivious
to the artistic and cultural components of the performance.
was unprepared to defend my family from the unintended implications of
Robby's speech. Although I tried, I'm not confident that I was terribly
successful. After all, some things just cannot be undone. I'm sure that
Robby's presentation will be fodder for discussions in the teacher's
lounge for the coming weeks.