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Chyates
Chyates asks:
Q:

'Lazy Tongue Syndrome'

Our concern about our 4 year old nephew has ripped our family appart.
He talks alot but we can not understand anything he is saying. His words sound like ' caveman' language. When we asked his father if he could understand what his son was trying to say, he said no. As we asked his father for some information about our nephew's speech challenge, he stated that he would grow out of it and became very defensive. We just wanted to know what the problem is and what he is doing about it. The father called his mother the next day and claimed that we called him a bad father and now the family is on non speaking terms. This is all about our nephew.

Concerned about our nephew
In Topics: Speech and language issues
> 60 days ago

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lkauffman
lkauffman writes:
Your nephew is very lucky to have such caring and concerned relatives. I imagine it must be very frustrating for you to spend quality time with your nephew as he chats away with no idea what he is trying to communicate. This is a challenging experience, and I think that it was appropriate for you to raise your concerns with his father.

As you may know, by the end of their fourth year, most children make significant gains in speech and language. They can typically understand most sentences, use 4-5 word sentences, and most strangers can understand their speech. However, you have probably heard, that there is a great deal of variation in the development of children. While it is true that, for most children, strangers (and relatives) can understand their language at age 4, there are some children who may take a little longer. However, if your nephew is still not easily understood at age 5, his father should consider taking him to his pediatrician to discuss his concerns.

That said, I understand that this issue has created a rift in the family. If you feel comfortable, you may consider calling your brother (brother-in-law?) and let him know that you are saddened that this issue has created problems in the family. Let him know that you love him and your nephew, support his efforts, and believe that he is doing a fine job parenting (if you truly feel it). I imagine relationships will be slowly repaired once the dust settles.

For more information on typical language milestones, take a look at the following articles:

http://www.education.com/reference/article/Ref_Language_End_3_4_5/

http://www.education.com/magazine/article/Small_Talk_Language_Milestones/

Good luck!

L. Compian, Ph.D.
Education.com Expert Panel
> 60 days ago

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Megaprince
Megaprince writes:
I am 42 this year. I was born with a bad speech problem, which they called lazy tongue. The muscles in my tongue are weak, the muscles are drawed back. My tongue is very wide. I could not say a word that no one could understand me until I was about 7 years old. I would have to point at things so people knew what I was trying to say or get an ideal. I had speech therpy till I was 13 years old, the therapist said I have got to the point will I could not improve much more. I can not say some words as of today for example word, world, barrel and such on. I can not say any of theses words with Rs,Ls and Ws. My son sometimes have to be my interpeter at reasturant, because I want my steak med-raw and the servers might think I say med-well. But I did overcome most of my problem and I will uses other words in substute words for ones I have a hard problem saying like as Earth for World. I am from the south and my family is to, but since I had speech therpy I develop a different acient, most people think I am from a Euproen country instead Florida. The major thing I deal with still to this day is my mother, when I am talking, she will move her mouth as if I am a puppet and she the tranquillist and I know she does not mean to, but it drives me nuts and I will tell her to put her hand over her mouth. This sometimes make me feel what felt when I could not hardly talk.
> 60 days ago

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RainbOasis
RainbOasis , Student, Teacher writes:
Hello Chyates, sorry for the delay in reply.
I'm an 16+ yeared student, and I was also born with the lazy tounge syndrome, my fellow relatives also used to say things like i sounded like a 'caveman'.
Now, like his father says, he may grow out of it, that may not be the case but it's a most likely probability, No one can cure the mumbling slurred sounds when with this syndrome but can 'as growing up' start to pronounciate their words much more better.
Now with the father in this problem, Non-speaking terms can be hard to fix, I could only guess by now you have tried going back and apologizing for anything you had said 'that might have started the feud' and explain that you meant nothing by it.
You can repay the family with the modern time peace offering or any other way to create peace between you guys, it's always best to try to make peace then sort out your problem by coming back at it trying to make a person see it your way. I understand it's better to try to get them to see it your way 'and ask once again about the nephew' but that would soon again start more problems.

to conclude to your question to the father, the child from the age of 4 would start to have more of a speech recognition in about 6 years. from then *unless with voice tutor* will in fact 'grow out of it'.
> 60 days ago

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cathieSLP
cathieSLP writes:
I am a speech pathologist.  We do not use the term "lazy tongue" anymore, and have not in my career (25 years.)  Your nephew may have an apraxia, a dysarthria, an articulation disorder, or a phonological processing disorder.  All are treatable, and while he may outgrow some of these things, he may not just "outgrow" all of these things.  He should have an evaluation by a speech language pathologist, as soon as possible.

This is important, as a four year old should be intelligible to strangers (even though they wont always have perfect adult-like speech.)  Your brother or brother in law can get this evaluation (and also speech therapy) free through his public school system.  This is true for all states and yes, it does apply to preschool aged children. All he has to do is contact his school district or his school of residence (the elementary school in his neighborhood) and ask for an evaluation.  

Special education law (federal law which applies to all states) states that children aged 0-22 who qualify for services can receive them free of charge through the school system. If he asks for an evaluation, the school is required to develop an assessment plan within 15 days.  Once he signs authorizing the evaluation, they have 60 days to do an evaluation and meet with parents to discuss qualifying criteria and offer an appropriate program.  Once the parents sign authorizing therapy, it must begin immediately.
> 60 days ago

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Pasadox
Pasadox writes:
Therapist can give all the politically-correct or polite names they want, it is a Lazy-Tongue. And most often, that is exactly what it is and will remain if it's not toughened up (exercised). I'm 61; I came from an era that you couldn't make sense and made those 'caveman' sounds, it would be more inhumane not to institutionalize that child. At 5 years old, I was that kid.

Doctor after doctor would agree that I was hopeless and that my mother should face some alarming facts. One last doctor, a young doctor at UCLA who happened to center a thesis around the subject of a lazy tongue, and though there could be many reasons for it, he had it narrowed down to 'LAZY' tongue; a muscle that needed to be treated, and treated early before bad habits and self-confidence issues kicked in.

He highly recommended a reed instrument as the exercise equipment (clarinet, oboe, saxophone, etc) and a speech therapist. A clarinet with lessons, and a wonderful speech therapist, by age 7, I 'Gladulated' from speech therapy and played a melody for my second grade class on my clarinet; became a hell of a saxophone jazz artist too; I have spoken in front of local audiences; headed up multimillion dollar concerns; and now talk my fool head off. When I had a near-death experience, the first thing my wife asked of doctors was that I had to talk...that I would just die if I couldn't talk. That's a far cry from being mentally challenged and institutionalized.

I AM NOT A DOCTOR, and will never pretend to be, but sometimes textbooks get in the way of good logic. Ask your doctor about exercising the tongue, then do it anyway -- music is good expression for the soul.
> 60 days ago

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