Speech therapy at 33?

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Anonymous #1
Report Thread starter 10 months ago
When I was a kid (around 8) my mum took me to speech therapy as I have a lisp. I didn't really give a **** and so quit going and that was that.

I'm now 33 and feel so embarrassed when meeting new people or doing presentations at my job/university. I feel ridiculous.

I want to go back to speech therapy but have a couple questions. Do I need a referral from my GP? Would it be free? Is it even effective for someone my age?

Thanks, peace out.
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Report 10 months ago
There isn’t really a pathway in many NHS adult services for speech sound difficulties. Partly because the numbers seeking it are so small and partly because there is not much good evidence available for working on speech sound differences pat a certain age (which is not to say it can’t be done but there just haven’t been many studies done on this clinical population).
Adult services in speech and language therapy generally cover acquired communication and swallowing disorders, whereas speech sounds are developmental/behavioural. As a result, you’re unlikely to find an adult service which has a team member equipped to work on speech sound differences. You would probably be rejected at triage for a referral like this. Which would leave the paediatric pathway, which would be unlikely to accept an adult referral, although not impossible.
Your best bet might be private. However, as someone who is a practising speech and language therapist with a speech sound difference myself, I will say that it is incredibly difficult to change speech sound patterns. I was advised to work on mine when I started my degree and I can produce the sound I struggle with to model it when I work with children, but I struggle to maintain it in connected speech. It takes colossal effort to do this. I would say that taking ownership of your speech sound difference and reflecting on its impact would be definitely part of therapy if I was doing this with you. Is it actually impacting on people’s ability to understand you? If so, yes there’s potentially a need for you to increase your intelligibility. However, if it’s more a case of you are self-conscious about it, I would point towards myself as someone who functions perfectly capably in the one environment where you would expect it to be most impeding and many well-known people who have achieved great success and made their speech sound difference a fundamental aspect of themselves. Lisping confidently is potentially more beneficial to you than trying to reduce or eliminate the behaviour. There is room for diversity in articulation in English and there has been a major move away trying to fix every aspect of a person’s speech lately in recognition of this.
Look at yourself: you’ve got to Uni and into employment without your lisp holding you back. It is not a reflection of your intelligence or capability. It’s just a difference, like a birthmark or eye colour. It shouldn’t necessarily be something you have to change.

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