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October 9, 2018

Texas Boy Speaks Clearly for First Time After Dentist Discovered He Was Tongue-Tied

From The New York Times

For years, parents of a Texas boy believed he was mostly nonverbal because of a brain aneurysm he had when he was 10 days old.

The boy, Mason Motz, 6, of Katy, Tex., started going to speech therapy when he was 1. In addition to his difficulties speaking, he was given a diagnosis of Sotos syndrome, a disorder that can cause learning disabilities or delayed development, according to the National Institutes of Health.

His parents, Dalan and Meredith Motz, became used to how their son communicated.

“He could pronounce the beginning of the word but would utter the end of the word,” Ms. Motz said in an interview. “My husband and I were the only ones that could understand him.”

That all changed in April 2017, when Dr. Amy Luedemann-Lazar, a pediatric dentist, was performing several procedures on Mason’s teeth. She noticed that his lingual frenulum, the band of tissue under his tongue, was shorter than is typical and was attached close to the tip of his tongue, keeping him from moving it freely.

Dr. Luedemann-Lazar’s assistant ran out to the waiting room to ask the Motzes if she could untie Mason’s tongue using a laser.

The parents gave Dr. Luedemann-Lazar permission to do so and looked up the procedure while they waited. Dr. Luedemann-Lazar completed the procedure in 10 seconds, she said.

After his surgery, Mason went home. He had not eaten all day. Ms. Motz heard him say: “I’m hungry. I’m thirsty. Can we watch a movie?”

“We’re sitting here thinking, ‘Did he just say that?’” Ms. Motz said. “It sounded like words.”

Before the surgery, Mason was speaking at a 1-year-old level, “making noises and being loud but not really forming words,” Ms. Motz said.

Now, Mason is speaking at the level of a 4-year-old. He is expected to catch up with his peers by the time he is 13, his mother said.

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