September 30, 2018

AND YOU THOUGHT THAT WAS JUST AN EXPRESSION: Texas Boy Speaks Clearly for First Time After Dentist Discovered He Was Tongue-Tied.

For years, parents of a Texas boy believed he was mostly nonverbal because of a brain aneurysm he suffered 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 diagnosed with 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 unrelated 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 ran out to the waiting room to ask the Motzes if she could untie Mason’s tongue using a laser.

After a quick Google search, the parents gave her permission to do so. 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.

Years ago, after blowing wax out of my ears, my doctor told me that she had cleared the ears of an older woman whose family thought she had dementia. Instead, she had enough wax to detail a Camaro in there, and once it was out she heard and responded to things normally. Sometimes it’s the simple things. . .

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