Thoughts from Dr. Joe:

Tongue ‘trusts’

September 24, 2009|By Joe Puglia

As Simone read aloud her favorite Dr. Seuss story, Kaitzer looked puzzled. She listened intently and then emphatically remarked, “Joe, do you hear that?”

“Hear what?” I said.

“That,” she answered.

“That? What’s that?” I asked. I didn’t hear a darn thing!

As though she just discovered the secret to the universe, Kaitzer exclaimed, “Simone sounds like a New Yorker!”

I was as pleased as punch and frankly was quite flattered since I thought that my influence upon the girls was little-to-none. As I beamed with pride, Kaitzer gave me that look. You know, that look, the kind of look you give someone when you think they are a dolt. Believe me, I’ve seen that look before — more than once.


So maybe there is something wrong with sounding like a New Yorker. Before I could even commiserate with Simone’s misfortune, Kaitzer said, “Dr. Chui was right, Simone has a tongue thrust.”

“What’s a tongue trust?” I asked.

“No Joe, it’s not a tongue trust, it’s a tongue thrust.”

I couldn’t even say tongue thrust, so I began to think that maybe I’ve got one too.

I thought we were playing tongue twisters. You remember them? Try saying this one three times: “A skunk sat on a stump, the stump thunk the skunk stunk the skunk thunk the stump stunk.”

You couldn’t do it, couldya? I can!

So a few minutes later, Kaitzer drops the bomb. “Oh! By the way,” she says, “I made an appointment with Justine Sherman, a speech-language pathologist. She’s a specialist in orofacial myology and is considered the best.”

I’m thinking, there’s goes that old International Scout I want to buy.

I can be such a jerk!

I went to the library to do some research on tongue thrusts and found, “Oral Myofunctional Therapy and Articulation,” by Marcelle Richardson. I learned that myofunctional therapy is the treatment of the orofacial musculature, which improves muscle tonicity and includes treatment of patafunctional habits and the temporomandibular muscle dysfunction as it relates to bruxism.

So that’s what causes tongue thrusts! You gotta be kidding me. I felt like throwing myself out the window. Thank God I had to pick Simone up at soccer, otherwise I would have done just that.

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