Experience of people who do not speak English
There are just 11 documented cases of congenital aglossia reported in the world, which means I’m in an extremely exclusive group. Even though I was not born with a mouth I’m able to swallow and speak and taste like everyone other. My tongue is at the bottom of my tongue, as well as the muscle on the floor of my mouth which can be moved between up and down however, other than the fact that there’s nothing whatsoever.
Many people who suffer from this condition are fortunate to speak. The tongue’s base isn’t able to extend to the ceiling of my mouth. I use the insides of my lips, cheeks as well as my teeth, and my mouth’s floor. No one ever sat me down and explained to me how to sound B or D. I believed that everyone talks like I do. The reason for this is that a lot of it is to do with not being able to appreciate what you have did not have.
The year I was born was in 1969. during those days prior to ultrasounds. The pregnancy was normal and there was no evidence that I was different. When my baby was born Mum noticed, just by looking into my mouth, that there was something amiss. The doctor examined my tongue’s base and informed her that “Oh she’s just got tiny tongue. It’s perfectly fine.” It was fortunate as I didn’t suffer any airway issues and was capable of swallowing. It was a bit difficult initially however, they eventually used an adaptable container to give me food.
Then, my doctors informed my parents that I would not be able talk or my speech would be extremely restricted. It was probably difficult for them to comprehend. They were just 22 years old and I’m not sure how serious they took this. I was their only child, and the greatest thing they did was to treat me like there was nothing wrong with me. Mum used to tell me as I grew older that she returned back from a doctor’s appointment and wept, as she was afraid I wouldn’t be able to live the normal life and be content. However, when I was young I was aware that there were parents to look after me and loved ones who loved me to the core.
I was aware of this. It was all the small things. My siblings would show their tongues, and I would wonder, “Why can’t I do that?” And I couldn’t blow bubbles using gum. Adults would inquire about my name, and I’d need to repeat it a couple of times and then I’d be wondering what they were thinking about when they didn’t get it. I’m Kelly and the difficult C sound is among my most difficult sounds to produce.
Also, I have a tiny jaw. It’s because there’s no tongue available to fill in the gap. People can see that, and not just being aware that I do not have a tongue.
At the time I began preschool, I was ridiculed. One girl would walk at me each morning and tell me that I had a mouth that was crooked. I thought, “What does that mean?” I was saying, “Don’t you know I’m awesome?” Then one day, I said, “I know! Would you like to join me?” We became friends and never discussed it again.
I saw an plastic surgeon at the age of 10 who suggested that I make a fake tongue. I thought, “Why would you do that?” I was more concerned about having my jaw and chin expanded. However, when I was 18, the surgeon stated that he wasn’t confident about doing any surgery because it could affect my speech. It was a thought to me, “I don’t care, I just want to be pretty,” however this was my right thing to do.
My taste buds are completely normal. They’re said to be at the base of my tongue as well as on my cheeks’ insides. I can taste the entire range of flavors. I’ve often wondered if I’m taking it on the basis of the smell or the texture. I’m able to eat almost anything including ice cream cones, I only make use of my lips. The only thing that is difficult is eating an apple, however that’s because of my jaw’s alignment.
What’s the difference between kissing and not having the tongue? I do like to kiss, and have been told that I’m a great kisser. I’m sure that’s not the case, however, I’ve never had any complaints.
I’ve never felt angry over being born like this. I often wondered how I would have appeared or sounded if born without a mouth. Through the years I’ve come to accept it, but it hasn’t always been an easy task. I would like to think that I could inspire others who are in this same situation, whether parents or children like my own.