Through Deaf Ears

I can’t really recall many of my speech therapy seasons as a toddler but my parents have VHS tapes of these sessions I went through. Speech therapy is a training treatment to improve speech and language skills. This type of therapy is repetitive and hands on. It helps people with many different types of speech impairments. As an adult, I have the joy of popping in these tapes to recall my efforts in learning how to speak. In one video session, I sit in a high chair at a table across from my Speech Therapist. I am wiggly and babbling in the high chair. My Therapist said “Hi Samantha”, and I attempted to say hello back. I waved my hand more than anything. She then said, “Say ‘Hi Joan’.” I said something that sounded reminiscent to Hi Joan-two syllables really. The VHS speech session continued with an exercise. I saw that I got extremely excited to see my therapist bring out building block toys. It was a building game and for each sound I said correctly I got to build a tower. Joan told me, “Say Ah.” I hear myself repeat the sound quite clearly. She smiled and told me good job! She then said, “Say ooo,” and I said it happily.

The next couple of sounds I repeated are simple and I see my baby self, place my hand out to retrieve a toy. Each time I received a building block I would say “Up, Up, Up” in such an eager manner. The tower was building up. The exercise continued with harder words. Joan said “Say rain.” The younger version of me didn’t like this word and started to reach for the toy but she shook her head and repeated the instruction. I cried because I didn’t want to say the word. As an adult, I couldn’t help but look at the T.V. screen and repeat the word “rain” with ease. It was a chilling revelation to know that I could say it now with ease but see myself struggling to say it in the video. I then saw the younger version of myself throw a tantrum by throwing my toys and hitting the table, all the while saying, “I don’t like this. I want the toy. You’re mean!” It was funny watching me, still using speech and my words even in a tantrum. That, too, was a testament to myself that even in a tantrum, my speech therapy lessons didn’t go unaccounted for because I was using language and speech to let my therapist know I wanted the toy.

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