It was many years ago, yes … but, no, I’ll never forget it: Being six years old and trying my best at all times to avoid using any words containing either the “s” or “z” sound. Quite a challenge for a girl my age. But I was determined.
Of course, that didn’t mean much to the kids at school. The relentless teasing by my peers was difficult to process and even more difficult to understand. Mocking and name-calling were commonplace for a girl diagnosed with a “tongue thrust” such as mine. I so wanted the mimicking and bullying to end, so imagine my joy when I was told that help was on the way, in the form of a lovely speech therapist who I envisioned as my own personal fairy godmother come to take away my troubles with her magic wand. As wonderful as she was and as much as I liked her, though, I didn’t realize that it would take two-plus years to finally be released from the spell of her services.
During all those months of treatment, I was given many exercises to perform — some complex, others less so. True, my memory of that time is a bit faded by now, but I’ll always remember the flash cards, the film strip projector, the “high-tech” reel-to-reel tape recorder I was never allowed to touch. I don’t recall how long each session lasted; I only know that if I could have stayed in that therapy room indefinitely, repeatedly practicing the drills necessary to strengthen my tongue, my lips, and my jaw to more quickly improve my speaking abilities, I would have done so. In fact, I would have given up every recess, my after-school playtime, and all my weekends just to finally be able to say what I wanted, whenever I wanted, without ridicule or shame. If only I’d had a way to practice my burgeoning skills after my speech therapist waved good-bye to me following each session
Flash forward a couple of decades (okay, more than a couple), and I find it only slightly ironic that there now exists a real answer to that young girl’s very real wishes. TalkPath Live’s proprietary software, TheraPath, is a practice platform available to all our clients 24/7, at no cost.
As the Chief Program Development Officer for TalkPath Live, it may seem like I’m trying to sell our product. But, actually, I think it’s the other way around: I think TheraPath is what sold me on the job. As a former speech client myself and as the mother of an SLP-in-training, I want to shout about TheraPath from the rooftops! I want to let everyone know that they don’t have to limit their therapy time to just their scheduled sessions each week, that our platform — offered free of charge to every student who receives speech services through TalkPath Live — allows individuals to practice the skills they need, anytime, anywhere, on any electronic device. At school, sitting in the park, riding in the car, at home.
My mother, I am certain, who spent so many hours comforting me, would have much preferred to use all that time helping me on an incredible tool like TheraPath instead of wiping away my tears. And today’s technology would have made that a reality yesterday.
Thankfully, my own speech therapy was very effective, and I will forever be grateful to my skilled provider. Still, if the duration of my treatment could have been shortened and my correction expedited, it would have been a dream come true. Although TheraPath came too late for me, it is available now, today, to others who struggle with speech impediments — and it’s an honor to be a part of the company that makes it so.