Thinking to help my son heal his speech right
I had sent out a call on the Freecycle site…
Every day for a week I was checking to see
If anyone local might have some books free.
Remembering childhood and tongue-twisting ditties
I set the request to go out to three cities
Quite soon, sure enough, an address I could look up,
And dive across town to be picking a book up.
It didn’t take long till we had a collection
Addressing lacunae in diction’s defection.
Each morning we’d read and he’d make his lips wriggle
And both, unsuccessfully, try not to giggle.
We read about Sleeping and yawns under noses
And Foxes with Soxes to cover their toes-es,
We read about Green Eggs and Ham and the Cat
Who had juggled the goldfish and then doffed his Hat.
We wrangled with words and with pronunciation
Till it was apparent, with growing elation,
His speech had improved and for reading aloud
The old Dr Seuss books had done my son proud.
I found them today in a nice tidy pile
Though they haven’t been out of the drawer for a while,
So I picked up the books and I started to read
And found the familiar rhythm and speed.
My son listened quietly, keeping a look out
For birds in the garden, while I read the book out,
Then closing his eyes, with a shake of his head,
He heaved a great sigh and quite pointedly said,
“You don’t really think that I think I am too dumb
To see that you’re reading not for me but you, Mum,
If you really think so, you’re hallucinating.”
He’s right, I just couldn’t resist Seussinating.
When Nick was in the early stages of his recovery at home, after six months in rehab his speech was still very thick, monotonous and slurred, similar to that seen after a severe stroke. We were trying a lot of unorthodox approaches to his recovery at the time, so I acquired a pile of Dr Seuss books from Freecycle and each morning Nick would read them aloud, using me as the ‘control’… if I couldn’t get the tongue twisting verses of Fox in Sox out, then he had nothing to worry about. After several weeks of this daily routine, Nick’s speech had improved immeasurably and his voice had begun to recover some expression. I would recommend that book to anyone seeking to help restore diction. I also believe that the repetitive rhythm and rhyme encouraged his damaged memory to begin to repair itself.
I just wish I could have said Thank You to Dr Seuss.