One of the biggest challenges of growing up with an NVLD can be understanding the need for speech therapy and the importance of developing a great relationship with your speech therapist. Regretfully, there continues to be a stigma about being in speech therapy especially for teenagers. Often your needs are much different than others so you feel out of place. Truthfully, your speech therapist is the one that helps you enjoy your school day better as communication and social skills are necessary to be able to effectively connect with others.
Many people do not know how a speech therapist helps you to become a stronger conversationalist which is such an important skill. For example, maintaining eye contact is a part of being a good conversationalist because it shows you have interest in the other person. Furthermore, eye contact is especially important when you go to a job interview. So while I understand how hard it can be to accept the need for a speech therapist’s care, it is so beneficial in helping you overcome your social communication deficits.
They can also help you in other areas, such as unwelcome interruption of others and helping you control your emotions during a conversation. A person with NVLD often has a difficult time understanding whether the conversation is over or if the person is pausing. As a result, they may speak out of turn interrupting the conversation which brings tension. Additionally, struggling with controlling your emotions often occurs when being corrected or being too anxious about wanting to talk too. Both of these situations cause much confusion and a speech therapist can help NVLD students make great strides in these two areas.
As someone who faced these difficulties, I understand completely if you are questioning the need for speech therapy and the strong relationship is really needed to pursue it. As I faced this, it seemed other speech students were different from me. Each year, more and more students had speech therapy dropped but I still needed it. This is where my high frustrations came in as I saw myself as stupid. However, as bad as I was, my speech therapist never let it bother her and always did such incredible work with me. The hardest part was that I couldn’t see that all the wonderful skills she taught me were actually helping me the most, both with communication skills and academics.
The frustrations continued and, regretfully, I ended speech therapy too soon as emotionally it was too hard for me to receive individual therapy and speech therapy. At first I was happy, however a year later I understood my disability better and I regretted dropping speech. The timing was really bad too. It was at a time when I really needed it the most. When I needed to present projects and go on college interviews, I didn’t have my speech therapist to help me. She would have been an excellent resource for me as she was always so good at her job. Through these experiences, I often thought as I saw her in the hall whether she knew how much I really liked her and that all my stubbornness she had to deal with actually came from my low self-esteem.
Years later, it is clear she knew that my stubbornness was me being a kid who was struggling. As I was overcoming obstacles, we built a wonderful relationship. Today, it is incredibly special as she understands how far I have come. Through her empathy, I can see things in a more positive light with her uplifting emails and wonderful conversations about what I went through and where I am today. Though what I love most is just visiting with her in her home. As if she is my speech therapist again, I know how I need to maintain eye contact, ask questions, and listen to her. The only difference is we know how much we care for each other and we can enjoy a lot more laughs.
While not easy, I do believe accepting speech therapy and having a relationship with your therapist is so important. They will be a tremendous resource as you’re dealing with social and communication deficits. The first step is to accept the service. I know a great relationship will come as your speech therapist will provide such empathy for what you’re facing and, if times become too challenging, they will know how to talk about it in a healthy meaningful way with you.
I just love having a very special relationship with my speech therapist now!Share your own story