Video Transcript: I quit speech therapy and never looked back

JESSICA SERGEANT: Today, I want to share my story with you on why I quit my speech therapy lessons when I was 13 years old. I’m not sure how old I was when I started these lessons, but it may have been when I was 14 months old, after it was confirmed I’m Deaf.

The speech therapy lessons I took during my childhood were quite extensive. I attended a pre-school for Deaf children. Speech therapy lessons were incorporated into its curriculum. Imagine me as a 2-year-old, who just wanted to play and have fun, being forced to take arbitrary language acquisition lessons? That was too much.

When I started kindergarten, I spent half a day there and the other half in the pre-school program. My speech therapy lessons continued. This was also on top of the lessons I was already taking at home with my mother. I recall her bribing me with raisins to “motivate” me in doing these boring and frustrating lessons. All this for a damned raisin?!

From Grade 1, I was pulled out of class for half-hour daily for speech therapy lessons. This was along with the ones I took at home with my mother. Despite those extensive speech therapy lessons, no one could understand me as my speech was unintelligible. I also couldn’t understand anyone who didn’t use sign language. My language was significantly delayed as well.

When I was in Grade 6, at 11 years old, I transferred to a Deaf school and was immersed into American Sign Language (ASL). Everyone could completely understand what I was saying in ASL and I fully understood everyone via ASL. My speech therapy lessons were much less frequent, just once a week. I caught up on my language via ASL as well.

My final speech therapy lesson, at 13 years old, was extremely frustrating. I struggled enormously with pronouncing a word. I asked the speech therapist this question, “It’s very hard for me to learn how to speak, but easy for hearing people to learn to sign. Why don’t hearing people learn to sign to communicate with Deaf people?” She couldn’t answer my question. I informed her that this would be my last speech therapy lesson.

I’ve never looked back since then. This, perhaps, was the pivotal point of my life that led me to do these vlogs and to create baby signing videos. Speech therapy does not equate to age-appropriate language acquisition.

Thank you for watching - bye!

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