Topic 1: Ankyloglossia

The parents of Peter, a student currently attending Primary 5 in a local primary school, is saying that their son is suffering from some problem with his tongue that is causing a lot of errors when speaking English. They said that he has particular difficulty in producing the English /r/ sound. Imagine you are the attending speech therapist, and the student is now referred to you.

During a visit to your office, the parents mentioned about a surgery that can help his son’s tongue and speak better English. They mentioned that, during the small surgery, the ENT (Ear, Nose, Throat) doctor will cut a portion of the tongue and it is commonly carried out in a room inside the clinic. The surgery is short and the patient usually walk away from it in an hour or so. They wonder if their son should have that done.

In your presentation, make sure you include the following components:

  • What is the possible problem that the student is having?
  • Include a brief (anatomical and physiological) description of tongue involvement in production of various speech sounds.
  • How does this problem affect tongue movement and spoken English, especially for the English vowel /r/? How will the sound be like then? What is the outcome of his English if he really suffers this problem?
  • What is the surgery the parents are saying? How is it done? What are the possible complications of the surgery?
  • Do you suggest that the boy should have this surgery? Why? and Why not? (Make sure your arguments are based on the perspective of language and communication, and outcome of surgery, etc.)