H.M. asks from Omaha, NE on January 02, 2010
Tongue Clipping, Tongue Tied, Just Plain Speech Problems.
My son had speech problems. They were noticeable from his first words on but he was put in the speech program at his school right away and now in first grade they say this will be his final year! YAY is all I could think
My daughter also has speech problems. So I figure this is just the way my family is. We just all have speech problems. For that matter of my 6 siblings nearly all of them were in speech therapy as well during their elementary years.
So I go to the yearly meeting to discuss my children's prognosis and the schools plans. Well they tell me how great my son is doing. Then it turns rather somber when it's time for my daughters discussion. They put a laundry list of problems she has in front of me. It's so extensive it covers the entire page. My son had 5 or 6 at most in kindergarten... certainly not a page. They tell me the reason is because she needs her tongue clipped. Basically her Frenulum is connected too much to the bottom of her mouth. It use to be rather normal for this procedure to be done on infants instantly if a problem was seen but now they are just leaving it be more than not and doing a wait and see kind of approach. Well apparently she is one of the ones they should have done. So apparently my daughters is so bad that it is causing major speech problems. They tell me gently that she needs to have this done.
Well to me this sounds barbaric. Clipping my daughters tongue as if she is a dog or something. So I tell them no, so does my husband. They gently try and tell me that it really needs done and it is an out patient procedure that is done with a local. We stand by no. So I then ask them to work with her for a year and see how she does then we'll revisit this topic next year if she hasn't improved. They agree to this.
Well one of my sister's is a very seasoned nurse and the other a principle. They both tell me I'm wasting my time and to have this done. She'll have a wasted year of Speech Therapy because this just needs done.
I'm confused now. I really trust my sister who is a principle and she's seen this alot and seen great improvement after it has been done, but the other half of me says this is barbaric and they should find some way to help her around her "disability" instead of cutting her tongue away from her mouth. I mean that just sounds horrible and painful.
I need other mama's help. I’m much too close to this. Would you do this to your child? And If you have how bad was it on the child, and were their drastic improvements like everyone paints it? Thanks everyone!
So What Happened?™
Well after an entire year of trying speech instead of the surgery it wasn't enough so we went ahead with it. It is the beginning of the school year so we will have to see how things go. I'm hoping for the best.
M.W. answers from St. Cloud on January 02, 2010
My brother had speach issues when he was little. Actually, he even had trouble talking much at all. He was about 4 or 5 when the doctors/teachers suggested that he get his tongue clipped. It was quick. AND HE HASN"T STOPPED TALKING SINCE! LOL. It helped immediately and he became an outgoing talkative little boy!
S.K. answers from Minneapolis on January 03, 2010
I was one of those kids who needed their frenulum clipped, but didn't have it done. I endured teasing because of my speech and frustration because people couldn't always understand me. When I was a Junior in High School, I had my wisdom teeth removed and the doctor clipped it then. At that point, repairing my speech was very difficult because I was so old. I had to do daily tongue exercises that were quite painful. My speech improved to the point that people don't really notice very often, but I still don't have a lot of mobility in my tongue.
If that procedure had been done when I was little, I could have avoided years of teasing and frustration. How is that barbaric? It's a surgical procedure to correct a medical problem. Is it barbaric to correct a cleft pallet if the child can't drink or eat normally? Is it barbaric to have tonsils removed if the child is constantly sick? I can say I have walked in your daughter's shoes. Please seriously consider having this done.
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M.D. answers from Eau Claire on January 05, 2010
I have twin brothers who struggled for years with saying their R's. It was getting worse, and becoming very frustrating for them, as they had no other problems. When they finally went in to have it looked at, turns out they were tongue-tied (just like your daughter, though not as much as her). Here are the basics:
The skin below the tongue is sometimes too tight, or extends too far along the bottom of the tongue. When this happens, the tongues is physically incapable of moving certain ways to make certain sounds; no amount of therapy can change this. The tongue is tied down.
All my brothers did was go in to the doctor, and he used a laser to clip the extra skin. Their tongues were hardly sore, and after the first day there was no pain whatsoever. Now they can say their R's just fine, and are very, very happy.
Clipping the tongue does not mean cutting her tongue away from her mouth. The extra skin/taut skin is only clipped back to the point of a normal, un-tied tongue. No more. This gives the tongue the mobility to move as it should.
Think about this: if someone is hurt, and they end up with extra scar tissue that inhibits their ability to move, the logical thing would be to surgically correct it so that they would have natural mobility returned to them. This is a simple thing to correct, and I promise you, the doctor will not be doing anything barbaric to your daughter's mouth.
Your daughter is not disabled; she has skin that is too tight or that grew too far along the underside of her tongue. If she has the procedure, she will talk as well as anyone.
I would advise you to go ahead and have the procedure. It will save your daughter a year of frustration, and you time and expense.
Go with the laser procedure, too. She might be a little sore the first day, but nothing more. The pain is minimal with a laser, and the healing is super, super fast.
I hope this eases and calms your mind. My brothers were thrilled to have it done, and highly recommend it.
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A.L. answers from Minneapolis on January 03, 2010
If you have a good relationship with your daughter's doctor, I would talk to him/her about the problem and your concerns. They can help you understand the medical side and how "barbaric" this may or may not be.
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R.K. answers from Appleton on January 03, 2010
Did you have your son circumcised? I feel that that is a barbaric procedure. It is a custom with the same as baby boys have blue items and baby girls have pink. There is no medical reason for a circumcision, it is a very painful experience for a baby boy yet they are done every day all over the world.
On the other hand having your daughter's tongue clipped will allow her to speak more clearly and who knows what else. The tongue is used for chewing and swallowing as well as speach. Since this is the only way you have ever known your daughter you may not be aware of all the ways she is effected by the fact that her tongue is tied. I would get it done as soon as possible.
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M.M. answers from Minneapolis on January 02, 2010
H., the mother bear in you says no; BUTTTTT...... go ahead and have it done. It is a VERY SIMPLE procedure. Very little pain, just some discomfort. I would comparable the discomfort to the child bitting the tongue. VERY VERY simple. I think dental work is more tramatic than a frenulum clipping; even if the clipping is a grade three tie that is clipped. The trama of having her speech delayed, other people having problems understanding her and her being teased by children later will be MUCH more tramatic. TRUST ME! I have seen kids isolated and not have many friends because they have speech problems. Save her this, have it done so PHYSICALLY she has time to learn to form the words. If you wait, you are putting her a year behind the 8 ball and getting her to the point that kids start to tease her. The speech may get a little better with one year of therapy, but it will never be fixed with one year. "Why cover the mole with make-up when you can have it removed?" Just a little different way of looking at it. Now, the children in kindergarten are just a couple years too young, but teasing WILL happen. Less than two minutes of pain beats "a year" of delay. If she goes through a year of speech, she gets a little better and you have it done later then you are now a year behind on speech. Once it is clipped she has to start all over because they will have to teach her to do things with her tongue that is not physically possible for them to teach her now, because she can not physically do it.
Sometimes in life we have to put our kids through things to make them better. TRUST ME..... We have been through the gament of procedures with one of mine. It truly is NOT a big deal. If you are really worried, they can use a little nitrous and/or lidocaine; but I say go for it.
It is too bad that your nurses and peds did not catch it in the hospital at birth. If you breastfeed I am sure you had to have problems if it is too bad. Many times doctors say just wait and see; because many ties will tear on it's own within the first 2 years, but then if it does not this is what the parents have to go through; so SORRY.... Trust me though, the issues later are bigger than the procedure issue. Good luck!
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I.B. answers from Wausau on January 03, 2010
I think Shellie K and Pam W have offered some excellent advice, and it sounds like your sisters have a lot of experience also.
I'd like to point out that the difference between clipping a frenulum and docking a tail (I suppose that's the procedure that you refer to when you mention dogs) is that docking tails involves the removal of a normal healthy body part and is done for purely aesthetic reasons. Clipping the frenulum is a surgical correction of a birth defect. You don't seem to appreciate the fact that your daughter has a birth defect; it's not normal healthy anatomy. Fortunately, this is easily corrected with a little snip. I recommend getting a second opinion to make sure that your daughter truly has a short frenulum, and if so, to go ahead with the procedure. Maybe that won't solve all the speech issues (you said that your whole family has had problems), but if there's anything you can do to make it easier for your daughter to communicate normally, why not do it?
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P.W. answers from Minneapolis on January 03, 2010
The first step is to obtain an assessment from a private speech-language pathologist (SLP). Your local children's hospital would be a good place to start. This is far too important to rely on the school's non-medical opinion.
An SLP will assess your daughter's speech development (articulation), oral hygiene, eating/digestion, the appearance of the tongue, range of motion of the tongue, and consideration will be given to self esteem issues your daughter may have or develop based on the above.
Lingual frenectomy and lingual frenotomy are different procedures. Lingual frenotomy is often performed on newborns and neonates with tongue-tie to enable them to latch and suckle. Lingual frenotomy is sometimes referred to as "tongue clipping." It is done with a local anaesthetic.
Tongue tie surgery can involve more than just a simple clipping or a quick snip, but may involve tissue resection under general anaesthetic. It is therefore not recommended unless there is a good justification for doing it.
The decision to proceed is arrived at through consultation between you and your husband, the SLP and the surgeon (and in some cases, your daughter's pediatrican).
You may wish to seek two SLP opinions to help make your decision whether or not to proceed with tongue tie surgery.
The school cannot deny your child speech therapy if you decide not to proceed with the surgery (as long as she continues to qualify for the service). In conjunction with therapy at school, you may wish to obtain speech services through a private source. (This is often paid for by your health insurance).
Whatever you decide, it is important to remember that you and your husband are experts when it comes to your daughter, and you will be a part of her life forever. You and your husband, as her parents, have a right, as experts on our own child, to pursue supports and services for her to successfully achieve her goals. You will always have far longer and greater responsibility, and vested interest in her future, than any institution or professional.
A. answers from Minneapolis on January 02, 2010
All three of my kids had to have this done in the first year. It was really quick, and they were fine within minutes. None of them have speech problems now (the oldest is seven), and nothing seems unusual about their tongues. They just clip it a little bit, so it ends up looking like a normal connection. We were pretty freaked out about the first one, but it turned out to be no big deal, and we acted quickly with the other two. This seems to be a minor thing to have done if it would help her so much.