Speech Therapy

What is your New Years resolution?

“What you do today can improve all your tomorrows.” ~ Ralph Marston

Years of developing lesions on my brain have caused changes in my speech. Consequently, I am having difficulty with oral communication and being understood. My voice is weak and I slur my words. And at times I stutter. I also have something called “scanning speech”. This is when my normal speech pattern is disrupted and separated by a noticeable pause, unclear articulation of words, and problems controlling loudness.

My most frustrating time is when I try to express my thoughts. I just can’t think of the words I want to say. Finishing one statement sometimes leaves me completely breathless. And when I finally piece a sentence together, most people have no idea what I’m talking about. They tend to look at my husband and ask him, “What is she saying?”

This lack in communication skills causes me to be excluded from common social interactions. And I just hate it. It makes me feel dumb, left out and lonely.

So after being blistered by the reality of losing yet another ability, I decided to get professional help and enroll in speech therapy. Unfortunately, my insurance only pays for one form of rehabilitation at a time. As a result, I had to postpone physical therapy in order to get help for my communication problems. And even though I love physical therapy, I have replaced it with 20 sessions of speech therapy.

Morgan, my speech/language pathologist, quickly noticed my problems on the first day of clinic. After initial consultation, she went on to create a treatment tailored to my specific MS symptoms and weaknesses.

The first exercise she showed me was called base of tongue movements. This helps enhance tongue control and strength, in order to better propel food and liquid.

The second one was called pitch glides. This drill improves upward movement of the larynx.

Lastly she formed an imminent plan for me to continue learning various oral exercises and voice training techniques.

This speech problem is just more proof that living with MS can sometimes be ugly. But despite my dilemma, I still hold my head up. And I’ve learned you can’t just believe everything will get better. Waiting for the stars to align is not an answer to your problems. You have to actually accomplish objectives to improve your situation.

So that’s what I’m doing. I’m getting help.

And my New Year’s resolution is to do something to make my life better. I just wish I had started this type of therapy when I first noticed I was having difficulties with my speech. But I guess it’s better late than never.

Author: Nicole Lemelle

My name is Nicole Lemelle. I am a writer, activist and a person living with Multiple Sclerosis. I created My New Normals to educate those who do not understand MS, reassure people with similar plights and inspire everyone to seize command of their lives.

8 thoughts on “Speech Therapy”

  1. One one hand, I read of your struggles and fear for what may be in store for me down the road. But I am encouraged by your attitude in the face of difficulty – something all of us, not just MS-ers, need to remember.

  2. You are a remarkable lady. Every time our paths have crossed, I have been drawn to you because you continue to get out despite the obvious challenges to do so. Without having seen your blogs at that time, you inspired me to fight my progressive MS symptoms. Social media is challenging to this 70 year old. Not sure how I was able to sign up, but I am reading your previous posts. Thanks for putting into words how MS affects you. They help me to clarify and accept some of the challenges I face.

  3. I was friends with you on Facebook. It is good to see you are still around. There is a treatment supposedly approved by the FDA in March 2017. Ocrelizumab will be available by spring and will help both RRMS and more progressive forms the disease. It is so good to see you.

  4. Nicole,
    Thank you for your transparency in your struggles ! I pray that your speech will be forthcoming and flowing!!
    My New Year’s Resolution is to start a Art/ Music MS group that is safe from the outside world of stares and Comments. A little bubble of kindness and faith and I wish that for you!

  5. Omgoodness! I can certainly relate. For most of my adult life communications was one of my strong suits. People clearly understood my message. I now find myself trying to limit the number of words that I use. The more I talk I feel nervous, lack confidence, lose focus and energy. My voice changes (shaky or a whisper tone), hands tremble, heart palpitations and shortness of breath. I sometimes feel so dumb.

    I quickly remind myself that this is out of my control and could be so much worse. I then push those negative thoughts out of my mind so that I can regain my composure.

    I tried speech therapy and botox to the vocal cords on a quarterly basis. I am trying to determine what other options may be available. I wish you the very best of luck with the therapy Nicole! To your point, we have to keep trying. We simply can not give up!

  6. Nicole, you’re such an inspiration and you’ll overcome everything because you’re a woman of Faith! I keep you in my prayers and I’m looking forward to you one day walking again.

    This is my solemn prayer for you, because Our Healing is upon the HILL!!

    ~ Miracles & Blessings

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