Student: “Miss Estizer why do you sound like that?”
Me: “Like what?”.
Student: “It’s gone now…NO! Like THAT!”
Me:”Oh…that. Well, I have something called MS, and sometimes it makes me talk funny. But, don’t worry, it’s not contagious.”
B-Smart after-school Photography class for At-Risk elementary school children, held at “The Banana Factory”. Provided by ArtsQuest, a non-profit arts organization that celebrates the arts in Bethlehem, PA.
Student: “Why does it do that? And how come it goes away so fast. I thought you were doing it on purpose.”
Me: “Nope. It’s something that I can’t control. MS messes with my nerves. Do you know what your nerves do?”
Student: “Yea-uh. Well, sorta. They make your body move, right? But, they don’t have nothin to do with you talking.”
Me: “That’s half right, but they do soo much more! Blink your eyes, now swallow, now pull your hair. Did you feel all of that? Good, then your nerves are working great. Nerves do almost EVERYTHING in your body. They send messages to your brain and you don’t even have to think about it most of the time. When dust or smoke is around, your eyes just blink, right? When you want to drink a soda, you swallow, right? Did you have to say…ok throat, swallow now?”
Student: “Ewww, how about when you have to pee?”
Me: “Yeah…that too. When your bladder is full, you have nerves that take that message to your brain.”
Student: “And what about #2?”
Me: “Ok, ok, ok…I think you got it! Sometimes my MS interferes with the way my nerves send the messages to my brain. When you hear me talk like that, my brain received a messed up message from my nerves. Or, the message was broken up, like your cell phone does sometimes, and my brain is confused. Then, my nerves go, “Oh snap”! That wasn’t right, and then my nerves send it again- the right way.”:)
Student: “When, when, when you talk like that, you sound like you got applesauce in your mouth!”
Me: Laughter. When I try to speak again…it happens.
Students: “Hey, hey, hey, SHHHH! There it is again! It DOES sound like applesauce!” The students that didn’t hear it before are now amazed.
Me: “Wait, wait, wait for it… it’s gone again, my nerves are working just fine now:). Yay! We can get back to work.”
The next time it happens, a few minutes later, the kids close to me hear it.
Student: “Hey, hey, hey!! It’s here again! SHHHH and you can hear it too!”
The class goes silent and the kids and I make a deal.
Me: “When ANYONE hears it, they’ll tell the rest of the class, and everyone will be quiet and wait for it to pass. When it happens I can’t teach right, because I can’t talk right. If you guys keep talking, I’ll have to wait for you to be quiet EVERY time, and that’ll take forever. We’ve got cool things to go out and do! So how about you all just be quiet EVERY time it happens, and wait a second for my nerves to get straight. THEN I’ll keep going”.