Peanut Butter vs. Drool

I started speech therapy around two or three years old. At the time, I was pointing rather than making the effort to speak. When it was discovered that I had cerebral palsy, the doctor said I would never walk or talk, but my mother never gave up. Around this time, I used to drool a lot and wear a bib. My first speech therapist asked me if I liked peanut butter and I nodded. She pulled out a tongue depressor, turned around and scooped peanut butter out of a jar. It looked like she scooped out about half the jar! She said, “Say ‘aaah’,” so I opened my mouth. She pinched my nose and stuck the tongue depressor full of peanut butter on the palate of my mouth. 

The next thing I knew, I was almost unable to get the peanut butter off the palate of my mouth. Using hand motions, I asked for water. She shook her head no. At that time, I was probably screaming bloody murder and surely my mother must have heard me in the lobby. I thought she was so mean. As it turned out, I now understand why she gave me the peanut butter. 

By licking the peanut butter off the top of my mouth, I was strengthening my tongue and my coordination. After doing this exercise for a year, I stopped drooling. But I didn’t realize why I had stopped drooling until later, when my mother explained it to me. 

I am now able to speak, and I’m in the process of getting myofunctional therapy to improve my accent. And I still like peanut butter. LOL! 

My thoughts: As you grow older, your perspective changes. As a child, you’re not able to see the bigger picture. As an adult, I appreciate what was done for me and if I ever saw that speech therapist again, I would give her a big fat hug. I don’t remember her name, but I still remember what she looks like.

What is one situation that changed your perspective as you grew older?

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A jar of creamy peanut butter on a counter surrounded by peanuts and toast -- this is what helped Keith combat his childhood drool.

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