What positive or negative experiences do you remember from speech therapy when you were a kid?
September 10, 2010 7:37 PM   Subscribe

Did you have speech therapy as a kid? Did you have experiences from your speech therapy sessions that traumatized or empowered you?


This is my third year working in an elementary school with preschool-5th graders with speech, language, and social issues. I work with most kids for an hour a week, usually in small groups, so it's important to make an impression in the little time I have with them. I want it to be a positive one!

I am careful not to announce to older kids in front of their class that they have speech. For sensitive kids, I use the phrases "Your Best" and "Not Your Best" for feedback on articulation productions instead of "good" or "bad."

I guess I feel like people hate it when you correct their grammar, and their actual speech is a few levels more personal than that.

Any personal memories of things that worked or didn't work for you in speech therapy would be appreciated!
posted by shortyJBot to Human Relations (45 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
I was in speech therapy for many years due to a terrible stutter. As part of the class, my speech therapy teacher taught us about opera (sometimes singing and/or using a different language helped break through the blocks that existed between brain and mouth, or such was the theory).

My teacher played LPs of Carmen, La Traviata, The Marriage of Figaro and other operas. We learned about the stories, and learned how opera singers breathe, what foreign phrases meant, and how to sing phrases to the tune of "toreador."

I worked out my stutter (not through opera...it was just my speech therapist's odd tool), and I still know all the stories of all the major operas. It was a wonderful experience for me, probably because it was so special.
posted by xingcat at 7:47 PM on September 10, 2010 [3 favorites]

I showed the thread to my husband, who said that he was in 1st or 2nd grade when Star Trek: The Next Generation came on TV, and his therapist would ask him to give her a synopsis of each episode. Years later he realized it was her way of getting him to talk, but at the time he thought she was just really interested in it.
posted by shirobara at 7:50 PM on September 10, 2010 [6 favorites]

He also wanted me to say (just right after I posted) that he still has a bunch of letters from her, and that they kept in touch for quite a while -- "which goes to show that somebody with that job can really make a difference," he says.
posted by shirobara at 7:53 PM on September 10, 2010 [1 favorite]

I had speech in 4th grade only for a year because a 3rd grader caught on to my speech impediment, I want to say its a lisp but its not, its a problem with not clearing your mouth of slavia so you don't hear that slushing sound..

I have to say it was kinda embarrassing at that old and age to have to need my speech corrected. I would treat the older kids more adult like. My speech lessons pretty much consisted of me repeating words and receiving little toy erasers. A waste of my time I thought personally. I am now in 11th grade and I think I grew out of my impediment but I still hear it now and then.

I'm sorry for these terribly obvious tips, but here it goes
- switch the activities up, every class! Ask the kids what works, what doesn't
-Toys and gifts will work for young children as motivation, if your going to use it with older kids, pick an age appropriate toy
- You mentioned this but make your time with them memorable, be sure to make the impression that the tips you are teaching them must consciously be practiced outside the speech room...
posted by ptsampras14 at 7:56 PM on September 10, 2010 [1 favorite]

My one encounter with speech therapy was in kindergarten-- some lady named Cheryl took me aside for what seemed like an hour (but was probably 10 minutes) to attempt to get me to correct the way I said the word "iron."

"Iron." "Iiiii-RON." "Iron." "Eeeeee-RON." "No." "YIIII-urrrrrn." "...well, all right."

You probably cannot do any worse than that; it struck me as "why am I having a weird argument with a grownup about how I say something, when I could be back at my recess table, floating raisins in my apple juice and pretending they're bugs."

The less you can make it seem like a weird argument with a grownup and more like something fun that they can try out on each other and their parents and siblings, the better it'll be for the littler kids.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 8:00 PM on September 10, 2010 [3 favorites]

I had speech therapy in grade 1 or 2 for a mild lisp. It never even occurred to me that something was going on for which the therapist was treating me; it was just something else I did during the week at school, and for homework with my parents. I may be atypical, though: I didn't even understand that I had a problem because I was never teased about it. No one seemed to notice, really.
posted by fatbird at 8:00 PM on September 10, 2010

Thanks for these suggestions! I LOVE the comment about giving a synopsis of Star Trek episodes. I love to nerd out with my kids! Lots of my students still love Star Wars, and I pretend to use Jedi mind tricks with some of the older kids to encourage them to use their best speech, and make comments like "The force is strong with this one," or "The dark side got ahold of you there." Not for all kids, of course, just the fanboys. :)

I also have never thought about using opera as an example for breath control, though I have used singing as an example. I like the idea of using opera because it sounds so powerful, and that is exactly the opposite of how someone might feel when they are stuttering.

Thanks and I would love to hear more!
posted by shortyJBot at 8:06 PM on September 10, 2010

At my school, the speech therapist met with every kid in the school in small groups in grades K-2 or K-3, I forget, and talked to us for a while and had us play fun little talking games. In retrospect it was to catch speech impediments early, but we thought it was super-fun because we got to miss a little class, play these games, and talk to the speech therapist who was super-fun.

So when kids went for speech therapy, nobody thought anything of it and we were all kinda jealous they got to spend all that time with the speech therapist.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 8:18 PM on September 10, 2010 [1 favorite]

I had speech therapy for years before they gave up on me in third grade because they finally realized that my hearing is fucked up enough that I don't hear myself mispronouncing the words. The teachers always thought I was lying about that and would discipline me accordingly. So, I guess my advice would be to just trust the kids a little... I spent months of my life wasting time and being scolded because teachers didn't really listen.
posted by youcancallmeal at 8:19 PM on September 10, 2010

I was in speech therapy in my elementary school from five years, from kindergarten through fourth grade. I had trouble making "r" and "s" sounds, so I had a lisp and pwonounced my awws like so.

It was never a really big deal for me- I went to an alternative/informal elementary, so I suppose it was a more positive and accepting environment in general, but I never felt any stigma for going to speech therapy, and I never really connected that I had a "problem". It was just something I did.

I had a few speech therapists over those years, and the one thing I remember about all of them is that I had no earthly idea what they were talking about. I only remember one technique they asked me to try: "make a sound like a puppy dog growling". I would do this, and the therapist would either praise me and tell me I was doing it exactly right, or try and explain the concept another way. It was never clear to me what in the world a "puppy dog R" might be, or what differentiated the successful attempts from the unsuccessful.

She also drew little sketches of where my tongue should be in my mouth (curled like so) for the Rs and Ss, and talked about where the air should be flowing off my tongue for the Ss. It was always completely impossible for me to translate that instruction into where I actually put my tongue or how to make air flow that particular way, so I would just try another sort-of-random combination of actions and see what she said. I didn't really understand the difference between a "correct" sound and what I was producing. I can only imagine how frustrating I must have been.

Eventually, one of my therapists told me I was almost ready to be done with Speech, and she really didn't want to send me to middle school having to see a speech therapist there. When I got to middle school, I was pulled out of class and took a walk with the speech therapist there, a much less interesting man who awkwardly chatted with me for a while and then told me that he thought I was fine.

I'm not sure what any of that means, or if it's helpful at all. My Rs and Ss are fine now, although now that I've dropped those habits, I've sometimes started to mumble and speak too quickly. Sigh. So... I must have picked something up? I'm sure the process of thinking about my letter sounds gave me practice, and I certainly think about how I form my words now. I tend to get a bit anxious about how I sound, and sometimes if people don't understand me (I speak veryveryquicklywhenI'mthinking) and ask me to repeat myself, I'll get more nervous and stutter. But my friends tell me that my speech is fine, and I trust that it's just me being nervous about whatever social situation I'm in.

The one Definitely Positive thing I remember from speech? Scratch and sniff stickers as rewards. Oh man I would do anything to get a scratch and sniff sticker. They were extra-special because most of the book was just regular stickers. Every fifth or tenth sticker would be scratch and sniff, or maybe when I did something very well or completed a larger goal I would get a scratch and sniff sticker? Whatever it was, I loved freaking scratch and sniff stickers.
posted by aaronbeekay at 8:27 PM on September 10, 2010

I was in speech therapy around Kindergarten/2nd grade because I couldn't say the hard "c" nor the "g" sounds. I'd instead use the "t" and the "d" sounds. Even though I was only 5 or 6 at the time, I still remember being pulled out of class while the rest of my classmates were coloring and that never quite sat well with me. I was slightly traumatized by the whole event because I grew aware of what I wasn't doing and worried about what the other kids thought of me because I couldn't talk like them.

The therapy itself didn't really help me. It was only after I had a terrible bout of bronchitis and a touch of pneumonia that I understood how to make those sounds. What ended up helping me was getting used to the movement in my throat for the sounds I couldn't make due to coughing a lot. I remember my therapist thought it was so awesome that I could talk normally that she had me just keep repeating those sounds. I'm sure she was slightly confused why I wasn't more happy about it but I had an awful sore throat when I went back to school that I just thought she was needlessly putting me through it.
posted by astapasta24 at 8:36 PM on September 10, 2010

What I remember from 1rst grade:

I slurred "sh", "ch", and other consonant combos. After a year of free one-on-one therapy, the therapist put a swab in my mouth and explained where my tongue and teeth should be when I was trying.

That was the breakthrough. I don't recall any traumas that the therapy caused.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 8:40 PM on September 10, 2010

I was in speech therapy in 5th grade for a lisp. Honestly, I loved going because I did not like my 5th grade teacher that much (also, she smelled bad and my alphabetically assigned desk was right in front of hers so going to the speech room was like a breath of fresh air). I don't remember much else about it, aside from that you're not supposed to stick your tongue past your teeth when you make a th sound. No one ever made fun of me or the other kids in my group for going. I am glad that I don't have a lisp anymore, so I suppose the net effect was positive.
posted by Ruki at 8:47 PM on September 10, 2010

You may be interested in the first essay in Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris. It's about his experience going to speech therapy for his lisp as a kid.
posted by Blue Jello Elf at 8:57 PM on September 10, 2010

David Sedaris has a pretty great story about speech therapy in grade school. Here's an excerpt.
posted by sanka at 8:58 PM on September 10, 2010 [1 favorite]

I was apparently in speech therapy in Kindergarten, as well. I had zero recollection of this until a couple of months ago when my mom brought it up. That conversation triggered a couple of memories, but otherwise, it was a wholly un-traumatic event.

However, since I currently have no speech problems it must have been effective.
posted by hwyengr at 9:05 PM on September 10, 2010

This is an aside, but David Sedaris wrote a short essay on his own experiences in Speech Therapy for a lisp in his book Me Talk Pretty One Day.
posted by aristan at 9:07 PM on September 10, 2010

Dang it, sanka! Not only are you not real coffee, you only offered an excerpt!
posted by aristan at 9:08 PM on September 10, 2010

My oldest sister had a speech impediment from a very young age. In the Chicago public school she attended, they did a crap job of helping her with it; a lot of surgery my parents couldn't afford was suggested, and they spent a lot of time having her "practice" speaking without giving her techniques, and telling her she just wasn't smart enough to speak correctly.

In addition, they would pull her out of class in the middle of it, for "special classes", which made all the kids believe she was mentally impaired (she was shy because of, you guessed it, her speech impediment.) Needless to say, it led to years of her being called "retarded" by her classmates, and a complete shutting down of her personality (that, in her 40s, she's still not fully escaped from.)

Oh, and did I mention that when she got to high school, a new speech therapist took one listen, said "oh, you just need to hold your tongue like this when you say esses," and within a week her speech impediment completely cleared up? The whole thing was, in essence, a minor lisp that grew into a social stigma and a huge hit to her self esteem due to the incompetence and insensitivity of the people trying to help her in elementary school (and hooray for the person in high school who knew what they were doing!)

So, um, please don't pull the kids out from the middle of their classes, please find a name for the class that doesn't evoke "special education", and please take the time to help the kids understand the're not bad people, they're not stupid, and if they're not making progress perhaps a different strategy would make sense instead of "well, it's surgery on her palate or there's nothing we can do."

sorry, I'm bitter on her behalf
posted by davejay at 9:10 PM on September 10, 2010 [5 favorites]

I had speech therapy for years as a result of a congenital hearing impairment PLUS a cleft palate. I liked the fact that my therapist wasn't patronizing or condescending. I had lots of other adults commending me on how "brave" and "special" I was. She just treated me like any other kid.

I wish I would have been encouraged to talk to more people outside of my immediate circle, though; my family understood my particular quirks and wouldn't correct me, and then I'd be surprised when a stranger didn't understand me as well as I thought they should. I still avoid the phone to this day: even though I can usually hear the person, I can't always make myself understood.
posted by desjardins at 9:15 PM on September 10, 2010

I was sent to "speech."

To this day, I am not really sure why- I think because I had the "R/W" problem. I don't know if it helped or not. I do know that a) it was never explained to me in a coherent way why I was there and b) I was self-conscious about the way I talked through high school.
posted by drjimmy11 at 9:27 PM on September 10, 2010

(This may be a weird mixed memory, but I seem to recall the same teacher/therapist helping me with the "problem" with my handwriting. Which was that I held the pencil "wrong," so they gave me this stupid triangle thing around the pencil to help me do it "right." Because God forbid I should do something my own way, that worked for me. So speech was just another in a series of things that seemed to be done to me to make me feel stupid, when my way worked fine for me.)
posted by drjimmy11 at 9:31 PM on September 10, 2010

I had speech therapy from 6th grade to 12 grade, in public school. I couldn't pronounce 'r's or 'l's, and I had a bad lisp. I also talked reallyreallyfast, and LOUDLY. Just this year I got diagnosed with Auditory Processing issues, which may have contributed to this. I also have no idea why I wasn't diagnosed earlier in elementary school, my 6th grade teacher basically said I was unintelligable.

The speech therapists I hated - they were the ones that did corny things, like make us play board games and go through 'roleplaying' for my talking by taking me to the local grocery store and having me try to buy a candy bar from the clerk, and not letting me complete the purchase until i pronounced my sounds right. Seriously - an otherwise bright 7th grader knows how to buy a Snickers bar, and I'd done so many times without issue, at that same store even. Also, stickers. No, I am not 5.

The speech therapists I loved - they were the ones who had me talk about my day and my interests, but then directed the conversation towards the lesson plan of the day.
posted by spinifex23 at 9:42 PM on September 10, 2010

I was in speech therapy briefly in early elementary school- first grade only, I think. I can't actually remember now what my issue was, possibly an "R/W" thing. I do remember that I somehow successfully lobbied to keep going to speech therapy after my issue had been resolved. I really, really liked speech therapy; I liked having an adult's undivided attention for an entire hour, with lots of praise, jokes, prizes. I even got excited about choosing stickers at the end of each lesson, and I was not much of a sticker collector. The most important part of speech, to me, was having a grown-up notice me and pay attention to me, in a positive way. Don't underestimate how powerful that attention can be.

But: I was never teased about my speech or speech therapy, and I did not have trouble making myself understood. If that had not been the case, I can see how I would have felt differently about speech therapy. Those kids might need some extra stickers, and some positive notice of how hard they are working.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 9:56 PM on September 10, 2010

I had year of speech therapy, not sure how old I was (maybe 4th grade). I had trouble with "r" and "s". I had no clue what I was supposed to be doing there and I certainly couldn't hear the difference between the "right" way and my way. My parents weren't too concerned about it so I don't remember every doing any homework outside of the time with the therapist. Needless to say, it didn't have much effect.
posted by metahawk at 9:57 PM on September 10, 2010

I was in speech therapy for a while in 5th grade after a TBI. My problem: I lost words occasionally. Simple nouns usually - I could describe the noun, I knew that I knew it, I just couldn't bring it to mind... I remember one specific instance in speech class: I couldn't remember the word "airport", so after a minute of struggling I settled on "plane station".

This problem only crept up very occasionally, so being in speech class didn't help all that much. I remember the setting being very independent, though - for the most part, I worked quietly by myself. I liked this a lot, although in retrospect I probably would have had more success practicing word recovery with conversation, not with fill-in-the-blank worksheets.
posted by hopeless romantique at 9:59 PM on September 10, 2010

I had speech therapy for a year or two after my kindergarten teacher realized that I couldn't say R or S or a bunch of other stuff properly (I was one of 5 children between 0 and 8 years old, my parents had other things on their minds and absolutely no idea no one outside my family could understand me).

I thought it was super fun to go because of the games and stickers (best of all in the sticker hierarchy- scratch and sniff, followed closely by sparkly) and Adult Really Paying Attention to Me and Asking Me Grown-up Questions Time. I had no idea what was really going on, but it didn't matter; my speech got fixed. For a little kid, I think that's the way to go; fun, tiny rewards that mean something to the kids, conversation about something that matters to him or her.

You can really make a wonderful difference to kids- what a fabulous job for someone who loves working with children! :)
posted by charmedimsure at 10:17 PM on September 10, 2010

I was in speech therapy as a child due to moderate hearing impairment. Unfortunately for your question I don't remember much, other than to say it helped me significantly and I'm very greatful.

The thing I remember most is kids asking me why I "talk like I'm under water". This is verbatim from probably the 2nd or 3rd grade. They weren't really trying to make fun of me, but at the same time I didn't know how to respond.

Helping kids relay their situation to their peers may be one thing to look into.
posted by GoldenShackles at 10:27 PM on September 10, 2010 [1 favorite]

I had speech therapy as a kid. It was directly related to a mid range hearing loss. I hated it because I could not hear the difference between what I was saying and what they wanted me to say. I still mumble way too much. I just wish they would have acknowledged my hearing loss rather than keep repeating "repeat after me..." and then saying "No, like THIS..." To me it was like when an american starts speaking louder and screaming to someone who does not speak english as if yelling will help. I heard the damn sounds, I just cannot repeat them as you hear them. (My hearing loss is not even that bad.)

Once I was taught basic lip reading skills, I was able to help my pronunciation because I could visually see how my mouth and tongue should be placed for that sound. For some kids, use visuals, it will help.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 11:29 PM on September 10, 2010 [2 favorites]

In second grade I would leave the classroom once a week for an hour with the speech teacher in a small group. It helped me say "L" or "R" instead of a single sound midway between the two.

However I was a pretty hyperactive kid who would drum on the desk without realizing I was doing it. My regular teacher simply stopped me each time. The speech teacher's unique training in working with special kids taught her that the best approach is to have the kid stand in the trash can to physically dirty him and humiliate him in front of his peers.

Three cheers for special ed teachers !
posted by wjm at 2:23 AM on September 11, 2010

I was sent to a speech therapist in 5th grade for work on my "R"s. My predicament was particularly noticeable because teachers would think I was saying "Kal" when I said my name, "Carl". Awwwwkward.

Anyway I think the therapist helped but I was largely unaware of the reason and bigger picture of the whole effort and so I was somewhat dislocated. I think more direct information would've helped. Nobody ever said "hey, you're not doing anything wrong but we've noticed you have a slight problem pronouncing your Rs. Here's what we're going to do to help". Kids like information and can process it well. Adults often forget that.

I mostly remember just learning to pronounce Rs like a Pirate would. Carrrrrrrrrrrr-aye mate-rrrrl.
posted by carlh at 4:45 AM on September 11, 2010

I was in speech therapy in, I believe, third grade.

What I remember most was that I really had no idea why I was there! And in the end, I didn't know when my involvement was "complete." (As I recall, whatever speech production changes I needed to produce were made fairly rapidly and I "graduated" fairly quickly.)

In retrospect, I think I wish that someone had said to me something exceedingly clear at the outset, like: "Hey, I'm Sally. I have a very special job at the school. I help people to be the best and clearest communicators they can be. So, the purpose of this class and our meetings is x. And you've been selected for it because of y, which means z. You may never have thought about or known this! One of the things about being a person is that we don't hear or see ourselves like we can see other people. [Ha, okay, that might be a little much for a third grader.] What we're going to do is to work together to to do some very simple exercises to help you express yourself even better. This may seem a little confusing at first and maybe frustrating, but we'll work on this project together as a team and we'll even try to have fun."

Obviously, everyone's mileage will differ: this probably seems important to me because childhood was so confusing to me and I never knew why anything was going on. (Also this all took place before tools like easy video recording in classrooms--I think we used a big audiotape recorder?)
posted by RJ Reynolds at 5:40 AM on September 11, 2010 [2 favorites]

I had speech therapy for half an hour a couple of times a week in 2nd and 3rd for an inability to say my Rs. Due to severe over-crowding, we met in a disused janitor's closet; although I guess that's not relevant. I was never embarrassed when my teacher reminded me that I needed to leave for speech; the other kids were jealous rather than ridiculing about that.

I did not find speech to be either traumatizing or empowering; I think I mainly found it frustrating. I honestly could not hear the difference between my Rs and the therapist's (this wasn't a hearing problem, either) and she kept making me repeat things that sounded totally fine to me. I still sort of wonder if people are hearing my Rs differently from how I am hearing them. She also gave me a series of exercises to do at home in which I was supposed to feel the Rs "vibrate" on my back teeth which I never, ever understood (and neither did my mother).

Basically, it was nice to get out of class but I don't think it had any effect on how I spoke; somewhere around middle-school or high-school age I started sounding more adult on my own. I still occasionally, when talking fast or excitedly, lose hold of the Rs altogether and start talking about wascally wabbits, but it hasn't had any sort of negative impact on my life.
posted by frobozz at 5:55 AM on September 11, 2010

I had speech therapy for 2 years (3rd thru 5th grade) due to a lisp.

It was certainly not traumatic, nor was it particularly empowering or inspiring. mostly I found it boring. it did work however, and to this day my muscle memory is pretty deeply instilled with the methods I learned then to "control" and minimize my lisp.
posted by supermedusa at 8:38 AM on September 11, 2010

I remember being taught to growl like a tiger to help pronounce my Rs. That was fun. And reading aaronbekay's story about his teacher framing it as "growl like a puppy dog" makes me pretty happy mine chose a tiger instead.
posted by ElfWord at 8:46 AM on September 11, 2010

I had the TH/F issue. I brought a fermos to class, and my first name was Keif (keith). It was horrid, and I don't remember much about the speech therapy other than that all the other kids treated it as thought it was Special Ed. We met in an overheated attic space that was poorly remodeled. I think the real reason that my speech improved was due to other kids harassing and teasing me to the point of tears over and over.

Something that I think is funny is that when i'm very tired now, I sometimes still revert to it.
posted by Draccy at 8:52 AM on September 11, 2010

also I did know why I was there, no one mocked us, I didnt think there was anything "wrong" with me. had to do "speech practice" in front of a mirror most nights...
posted by supermedusa at 8:55 AM on September 11, 2010

I don't know anything about speech therapy, but just from reading this thread i noticed something:

Lots of people are saying that they couldn't tell/hear the difference between the "right" vs "wrong" way to form the letters during their practice sessions. Only one person mentions a physical technique: the therapist put a swab in my mouth and explained where my tongue and teeth should be when I was trying.

I remember my teacher training (not speech, just regular elementary) talking about Visual, Auditory, Kinetic methods of teaching so as to reach all types of learners. Maybe speech therapy is the same way?
posted by CathyG at 9:03 AM on September 11, 2010

Like my sister before me, I had some small-group speech therapy in early elementary school. We both thought it was a treat to get out of class for a few minutes every week to practice saying words like "variety" instead of doing boring math and penmanship drills with the rest of the class.

Later in school, every one of my (non-English) language teachers complimented the accuracy of my pronunciation of sounds most of the class had problems with. I've sometimes wondered whether being exposed to multiple spoken languages at home contributed to both my early English speech defects and my later knack for foreign languages.
posted by thatdawnperson at 9:15 AM on September 11, 2010

My kids have been in speech therapy. If I speak from their perspectives, I'd say they were pretty traumatized when they were put in a speech group that was not at their level, and they have been traumatized by "table time" or drill based therapies (not limited to speech). What they have liked (and what, without question has made the biggest impact) is having an SLP who really really understood and had skills oriented to the difference between Speech and Communication. When Speech took the backseat to Communication and communication was worked on in actual real communication settings, speech and communication improved.

Right now, they're really into food and so talking about, reading and writing recipes and menus is a current favourite activity. They read cookbooks (adult ones). Nice because it's concrete, real food, short lines of text with a lot of regularities (until you get foreign recipes LOL!) and yummy looking pictures. It's really easy to set up a cooking activity at home and to "need" the child to read or say out loud what the next ingredient or step is. Shopping lists are also easy to get practice times and with a real communication application.

As a clinician who has worked on many families' intervention teams with SLPs, I've seen this replicated over and over, and makes THE number one difference in the effectiveness of their programs, and this includes kids who not only have disordered communication (eg because of autism) but also kids with apraxia and autism. In the latter, the generalization of PROMPT techniques into communicative settings has been very effective, for example.
posted by kch at 9:45 AM on September 11, 2010 [1 favorite]

I had speech therapy in kindergarten and 1st grade (for a lisp-esque speech impediment which made me pronounce my real name like my mefi name). The only unpleasant thing about it was the big fuss when the therapist would come and pull us out of class, as my primary goal in elementary school was to daydream about dinosaurs and astronauts and rockets and astronaut dinosaurs flying in rockets. So having all that attention on me was pretty vexing.

Anyway, the therapist mostly just made me read aloud from my favourite books/magazines, which I mostly enjoyed, except for when she clearly found my choices strange. Whatevs, lady. Science is rad. Also we worked on my breathing, which was inexplicably "wrong" somehow.
posted by elizardbits at 10:01 AM on September 11, 2010

Eyebrows McGee's experience reminds me of when kids at my school were tested for learning disabilities (I guess?). I remember there was this cool lady named Mickey and she came into my Kindergarten class...and then only a few kids got to work with her after that and I was kinda jealous. I was vaguely aware through the years that some kids worked with her but there was no stigma or anything.

I never went to speech therapy myself, but I was actually just talking to my cousin about it last night. She has a host of disabilities, including Aspergers and ADHD, and she used to be very hard to understand because she would talk really fast and not clearly. I think her "speech" therapy combined with Aspergers therapy, which included how to look someone in the eye, etc. My cousin is 17 now and it is incredible how much she has progressed. Sometimes she talks too fast, but she is generally easy to understand and looks you in the eye and displays normal social cues (well, as normal as teenagers get!).

Basically I just wanted to give an anecdote of how helpful special education and speech therapists can be, and to hopefully encourage you a bit. I'm sure my cousin wasn't always the most grateful student and she was pretty hard to handle as a kid, but the hard work of her parents, therapists and teachers has really paid off.
posted by radioamy at 9:05 PM on September 11, 2010

As someone in an OTA/PTA program who hopes to work as an OTA (Occupational Therapist Assistant) in pediatrics, I wanted to say thank you to everyone posting responses to this question! It has given me some great ideas about how/how not to approach treatment sessions. :)

posted by purlgurly at 5:44 AM on September 12, 2010

I went to speech for about four years--kindergarten, and because of budget cuts, third through fifth grade.

I loved it! We did lots of fun games when I was little. When I was in fifth grade, I was allowed to bring in a book and about half of it would just be me reading. Plus, the real bonus for me was getting out of regular class. I looked forward to it every week! I was definitely ready to be done with it by fifth grade, but after I was, I missed it a little.

Also, I always knew what I was working on. My teacher basically tackled one thing at a time. So for me s was first, then sh, and finally ch. Also, once I learned the s sound, listening for what I was doing wrong and right for the other sounds went really quickly.

It was a small school, so if someone in the same grade had the same problem they would go together, which was great for the games. This was only a couple of months for me, but I liked that a lot.

Also, the teachers just called it "speech" not "speech therapy" which might have helped mitigate any stigma.

Also, I work in radio now, so I pretty much wouldn't have my job if it weren't for that teacher!
posted by bubonicpeg at 7:00 AM on September 13, 2010

THANK YOU! It's our second week of school here, and I've been inspired. Thanks, everyone!
posted by shortyJBot at 12:09 PM on September 16, 2010

« Older What's the Best Way to Give Far-Away Virtual...   |   Wake me up on time! Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.