Tongue Tied--GET THE SURGERY!!!
Aug 15, 2000
When my son Matthew (age 4) was born, my husband and I immediately noticed that he was "tongue-tied". Yes, this is a real birth defect. It was so bad the day of his birth we talked to the pediatrician right away about it. His tongue was attached underneath clear out to the tip of his tongue. The "specialist" responded that he would grow out of this and it would be no problem.
As doctor appointments came and went, we spoke with his doctor regularly about our concern with his tongue. When Matthew was 2 our doctor said to us maybe we should go to a "EENT" doctor just to ease our worry. We went to the specialist he suggested, a well known doctor in town, and he said to us that more than likely Matthew will outgrow this and that it was NOT in NO WAY affecting his lack of speech. He also said that maybe when Matthew was a teenager he would be back to have his tongue "clipped" so he could french-kiss!! So, thinking we are just ignorant parents we trudged on in life.
Then we discovered a place that provides help with children with disabilities up to age 3. If the children are not up to speech level etc for their age. They sent us on to a special playgroup with speech at a local disability school here. It was marvelous for us. They taught us a few sign language words to help ease the frustration that both Matthew and I felt at not being able to communicate. He attended there for a year with a class once a week and a home visit class once a week from the teachers. We spoke with them about Matthew's tongue also. They (the speech specialists) were not familiar really with tongue-tied children and said it is a controversial issue to clip or not to clip. (Oh--forgot to mention that our doctor that delivered Matthew (his pediatrician) has his own daughter's tongue clipped at birth--great eh?). Anyway, they were helpful at this school but still not much changed with his speech.
We then had it again and believed he really needed surgery. So we decided to pick our own "EENT" specialist and made an appointment. He said that Matthew's tongue has nothing to do with his speech problem. Again, frustrated we went home thinking it must be us. Due to his speech problem we were able to then enroll Matthew in the federally funded preschool program called "Head Start". It was and is marvelous!!! Free, with breakfast and lunch provided, 4 - 1/2 days per week. The teachers there were and are wonderful to us (he gets to attend again this year). Within 2 months the teachers had suggested to me that we take him to a place in town, a Hearing and Speech Center. Within 15 minutes of spending alone time with Matthew, they told us there that Matthew could not talk due to being tongue-tied. Matthew could not move his tongue. Matthew did not even know he could touch the top of his mouth inside with it or the sides. I started crying on the spot, relief and guilt running through me at the same time and the fact that someone finally agreed with us. This was in November of 1999. In January of this year, Matthew had his tongue clipped (by an entirely different "EENT" specialist in town). It was amazing to everyone, his teachers, speech teachers, family that the surgery made such a difference. Since the surgery we have speech once to twice a week. He has come so far they are so happy with his progress. But we have lots of work still ahead for Matthew's speech.
If there is anyone out there that thinks they have the same problem, I implore you to continue to push to get this surgery done. It's so sad for my Matthew that he had to wait till he was almost 4 years old to have us really "hear" him and he is sounding GREAT!!.