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Mark Manley
Mark Manley, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 402
Experience:  Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. Over 15 years exp. Married 30 years and happy.
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Our 9-year old grandson has a pronounced lisp which makes it

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Our 9-year old grandson has a pronounced lisp which makes it hard to understand him. He cannot speak without putting his tongue between his teeth instead of holding it back on the roof of his mouth or behind his teeth. How can we help him?
Your grandson is a good candidate for speech therapy. Time is of the essence as these disorders respond best to early intervention. Does his school offer any speech therapy? Also have you considered or tried a speech therapist outside the school setting?

Coincidentally I was complementing a thirteen year-old boy at church this past Sunday regarding his greatly improved speech. He was proud to tell me he had recently graduated from his speech therapy at school. From age 9 to age 13 this child's speech went from bad to very good.

I wish you and your grandson all the best.
Mark Manley
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
I am quite aware that my grandson needs help for his problem, which you have confirmed. However, I need to know how I can be of help personally. I see him most weekends, but as his parents are separated and don't seem concerned that this speech problem can hinder his communication at school, it is hard for me to know how to get help without distancing his parents further. My own English language skills are good - I spent my working life in secretarial positions - and am sure I can help if I had some guidance. Can you recommend a book or access to relative instruction? Otherwise I don't see how you can add to my original request. Thank you.
I will be right back with you
Sorry for the delay in getting back to you. Thanks for the clarification. From your original post;I had no way of knowing there were extenuating family dynamics or that you were wanting specific behavioral interventions you could apply with your grandson

One of the most important goals would be to keep all your interventions as stress free for your grandson as possible. In other words you don't want him to feel any more anxiety about his speech or the family dynamics than he currently does.

I highly recommend that you refrain from all direct interventions i.e. correcting, practicing, etc. until an assessment has been completed and a comprehensive treatment plan created. You may need to be very assertive in dealing with the parents if they are in denial regarding the problem. Try to get them to be active participants in the process but do all you can to protect your grandson from the adult conversations about the issue. If the parents are not responsive,all hope is not lost.

If the parents won't be involved they may give their consent for you to take your grand son to be assessed. As part of the treatment plan the speech therapist can instruct you in any interventions or support you should or should not provide. Also if you end up without parental support at first you may be able to help them see the light as time goes by,and thus involve them gradually in the process.

I am sure all of this is very worrisome for you. I wish you every success with the whole situation.

Mark Manley

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Thank you Mark. Your answer is exactly in line with my thinking. I'm sorry I did not supply more information concerning the background originally, but was not sure whether there were limits on this. As briefly as I can put it - we emigrated from England in '72 when our son was 5 and daughter 2, and have no near family here. Education has been important to us and our children both attended boarding school and received good grades. My daughter picked it up and ran with it. My son has stumbled from one crisis to another, is now 45, was married in '97 to his Filipino pen-friend whose English was just passable and education not good. They have three sons, 13, 9 and 8. As my husband and I had just retired we bought a house for them to rent, with the promise that they could buy it from us at the purchase cost when they had got on their feet. Five years ago, when my son had almost completed an EIT course for an adult electrical apprenticeship (which he'd abandoned in his twenties for a trip back to England for 6 years), our daughter-in-law stated that since their rent had paid the mortgage they should have the house. We pointed out that we had worked hard all our lives and couldn't just part with our retirement funds just like that. She then took the children away from the house and their father and rents a house in town. She also forbids the children to see us unless their father is with them, they aren't allowed to stay for holidays or indeed to travel with us for a day out on birthdays, etc. unless their father comes to. In short she is calling all the shots and our son is trying not to displease her in case the children suffer, as he has never done anything about getting a parenting order in place. We have a brilliant relationship with the boys who do come to see us at weekends as we had to sell our house and move into the one we'd bought originally for the couple to live in, and since had this property sub-divided and a small cottage built on the adjoining property, so our son does have his children to stay with him at weekends. The boys are very quiet, needless to say very fearful of upsetting either of their parents, and his wife has made it plain she wants me to have no part in the school or extra-mural life of the boys. Oliver, with the speech problem, is particularly withdrawn and although he and I do have a special bond I can see him slowly slipping through the cracks.
As you so rightly say, we have to be careful that we don't create an atmosphere where the boys are even more uncertain than they are already, and your reply has given me the confidence to go to the primary school where I know and am on good terms with the secretary and the teachers and make some quiet enquiries about speech therapy perhaps through the school. I do have good rapport with my son as long as I don't question his wife's actions and as Oliver is extremely close to his father I am as sure as I can be that he will give the situation some further thought.
So thank you, XXXXX XXXXX I will make a point of keeping you posted. I do hope each of my appointments doesn't cost me $35 as we are on a pension and have already parted with too much money on our son's behalf!
Thank you for the additional background. It is so difficult when one of our children marries and has children with the type of person you have described above. You are wise to walk softly. I am sure your tongue is bloody from biting it so often when there is so much you want to say in behalf of your grandchildren.

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Mark Manley
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