Sunday, 6 April 2014

Anthony and the Visit to a Speech Therapist


 

By way of introduction to this story about Anthony I would like to say that it was started a little while ago and follows on from Anthony and the Play-Shorts (posted November 2012). In writing it I was inspired by a story I’d read on Wincy’s excellent blog: http://bedtimewincypyjamas.blogspot.co.uk called Philip’s Treatment. I would like to thank Wincy for encouraging me to post this story.
 



Aunt Gladys sat down with her sister, Anthony’s mother: “Hetty, I’m going to come straight to the point… that troublesome son of yours is going to be the death of you! Don’t misunderstand me… I wouldn’t want you to think I’m in any way criticising you… it’s certainly not your fault that Anthony is so wilful and badly behaved, but I think it’s high time you had some help…” 

Aunt Gladys continued, “… now I’ve been thinking about this for a while, so I don’t want you to think it had anything to do with Anthony’s gross behaviour last Sunday… fancy accusing Reverend Parks of behaving improperly towards him…! I’ve been thinking that it’s high time Edward and Sean were given chance to show how responsible they can be. As you know they are both well-behaved, dependable, conscientious and above all trustworthy. I consider them both admirably suited to help you in any way you see fit when it comes to looking after Anthony. I know Sean is only eleven, but if he’s given the proper authority, I don’t see that he would have any difficulty in managing a fourteen year old boy like Anthony…” 

Anthony’s mum put her cup down on the coffee table by the side of her chair and spoke: 

“Gladys, it is such a relief to hear you say that. I hardly know how to thank you… it really is music to my ears. Anthony has been so troublesome of late… all the fuss he makes about wearing short trousers and play-clothes… it’s enough to drive anyone to distraction. As I’ve said to him a thousand times, ‘Anthony the more fuss you make about your clothes, the longer it will be before you’re allowed to wear long trousers…’ He simply fails to understand that he won’t be allowed long trousers if he carries on behaving in such a childish manner. Just because he sees other boys in long trousers, he thinks he should have a pair too. Isn’t that just typical…? Such a self-centred little boy. Really, Gladys you’ve no idea what I have to put up with morning, noon and night…” 

Anthony’s mum paused and leant forwards toward her sister and continued: “You know, Gladys I can’t even leave Anthony alone in the house and he can be such a handful that I’m loathe to ask people to baby-sit him for me.” She paused again before looking straight into her sister’s eyes, “Gladys… tell me truthfully, are you sure Edward and Sean would be able to cope with Anthony? He needs a very firm hand… and your boys are both younger than Anthony…” 

Aunt Gladys reached out and patted her sister’s hand: “Don’t you worry about that, dear. I’m positive that if Edward and Sean are given full authority to do as they think fit, then I’m sure Anthony won’t present a problem. Look how Edward helped you on Sunday. He certainly picked up how to use that wooden school ruler quickly enough… You remember when Reverend Parks rubbed that special cream on Anthony’s penis after you smacked it with the ruler… That was so disgraceful of Anthony… fancy having an erection like that in front of everyone! Disgraceful, that’s what I call it… If he can’t control himself, then he deserves everything he…” 

At that moment Anthony entered the living-room. He looked nervously across to his Aunt Gladys. He had listened from the hall to what she was saying. The thought of being ‘baby-sat’ by his two cousins appalled him. Even though he’d long ago given up asking himself: ‘Why me? What have I done wrong?’ he still couldn’t understand why he was kept on such a short leash, when his cousins, Edward and Sean, seemed to be able to get away with anything! And now his mum and Aunty Gladys were planning on putting Edward and Sean in charge of him. It was so unfair! 

Anthony secretly blamed the vicar, Reverend Parks, for this new misfortune… no… all his misfortunes. It seemed that ever since his mum started dragging him off to church every Sunday Anthony’s life had got more and more miserable. Anthony lost track of the times he heard his mum saying: “Reverend Parks says that you ought to do this…” or “Reverend Parks thinks that you should do that…” 

They saw Reverend Parks more and more often. He would be invited to tea and often seemed to be there when Anthony arrived home from school. Increasingly Anthony would be subjected to lengthy homilies on subjects such as the virtues of purity and cleanliness during which Anthony would blush furiously, knowing precisely what the vicar meant. More often than not these lectures were accompanied by admonitions that would end in ‘suggestions’ as to Anthony’s clothing. 

“Clothes maketh the man,” he would say, “But boys need to be dressed as boys…” adding portentously, “Don’t they Anthony?” 

Anthony knew it would be foolish to disagree and would reply meekly: “Yes, sir.” 

But if that’s the case, Anthony would think, why doesn’t it apply to Edward and Sean as well? Sean is three years younger than me and he isn’t forced to wear embarrassing little-boy clothes. Sean wears long trousers and denims, just like his older brother… and Edward is younger than me as well! 

Yes, it was all so unfair… 

Anthony had soon learnt that his mum was more than happy to follow the vicar’s advice on how he should be kept dressed and so it was that stood facing his Aunty Gladys wearing the result of yet another humiliating trip to the children’s outfitters.  

“Oh, my…! What a delightful new outfit! Come over here Anthony and let aunty see your new clothes…” 

Aunt Gladys looked down towards Anthony’s feet. She loved to see what type of footwear her nephew had been forced to wear. Today she saw that Anthony was wearing red T-bar sandals with filly white ankle socks. This meant his long, smooth legs were bare all the way up to the hem of a very brief pair of pale pink bib shortalls with cross braces at the back. 

Anthony wore a yellow T-shirt and a somewhat sullen expression. To be fair, what fourteen year old boy wouldn’t look miserable wearing such clothes? 

“Cheer up Anthony!” his aunt said as she reached out to examine the shortalls more closely. “They’re a lovely fit, Hetty… oh and look, the legs are loose enough to roll up a tiny bit further… that is nice… turn around, Anthony…oh, I can see his little botty… how sweet!” she teased her red-faced nephew. 

Anthony was sensible enough to let Aunt Gladys do as she pleased. He knew that to struggle or pull away would land him in serious trouble. The events of the previous Sunday were still far too recent to risk upsetting anyone and possibly incur further punishment. So Anthony stood impassively as his aunt adjusted the already humiliatingly brief shortalls, tightening the straps until his bottom cheeks were almost half uncovered.  

However, unbeknownst to Anthony, Aunt Gladys had another reason for her visit… 

Aunt Gladys had arranged for Anthony to visit a speech therapist. There was nothing particularly wrong with Anthony’s speech and his mother hardly even noticed the mildly eccentric way her son spoke. But Aunt Gladys had convinced herself that if something wasn’t done, Anthony’s speech would be blighted for life. 

You might ask the cause of Aunt Gladys’ concern? Sometimes Anthony would speak only in whispers, sometimes he was prone to lisp and at other times he would say nothing, merely sucking in his lower lip before pushing it out into a childish pout. 

“… but, Hetty it can’t do any harm to take him to the therapist,” Aunt Gladys insisted. 

“Perhaps you’re right, Gladys. I’ve noticed that the Reverend Parks keeps having to tell Anthony to speak up. Perhaps it’s just nerves…” 

“Nerves or not, I’ve made Anthony an appointment to see Miss Berry at the clinic…” 


 

So at Aunt Gladys’ insistence Anthony was taken that very day to see a therapist who quickly diagnosed the onset of ‘lazy tongue’ and just as quickly formulated a course of action to prevent the further deterioration of the fourteen year old boy’s speech. The primary method of treatment involved Anthony wearing a special therapeutic device in his mouth. This, it was explained, was to be worn for prescribed periods during the day, normally for one hour three times a day. 

Anthony was been horrified when the device was shown to him and protested: “… but, but it’s a dummy!” 

The therapist, Miss Berry, laughed: “Of course it isn’t Anthony… it’s called a Progressive Speech Modifier. It’s really nothing like a dummy. Here let me show you how it works…” 

Miss Berry came and stood by Anthony’s side. She placed her left hand at the back of his head. She held the tubular Speech Modifier in her right hand, by her side. 

She talked to Anthony as if she was addressing a three year old: “Now tilt your head back for me, Anthony… that’s it… right the way back… now I want you to look at that pretty picture on the ceiling over there… Can you see the pretty picture, Anthony? No, don’t move your head, Anthony… Just tell me who’s in the pretty picture…” 

Before Anthony realised what was happening and before he could complete the word ‘Bo-beep’, Miss Berry had pressed the tip of the Speech Modifier firmly on his bottom lip. 

“Stay still, Anthony… now I’m going to slide the Modifier into your mouth and as I do so I want you to keep your lips closed and your tongue underneath it… good. Now as this is the first time you’ve worn the device I’ll insert it very slowly so that you can get used to how it feels in your mouth… Good boy, that’s right, you can help by sucking it in… excellent! Well done, Anthony!” 

To Anthony the Speech Modifier felt as if it was going to fill his mouth completely, but as Miss Berry explained to his mother, this was a Junior Modifier primarily designed for younger children. Anthony would be started off on this model to establish his suitability for further treatment. 

“Almost there, Anthony… Can you feel the bulb pressing on the back of your mouth?” 

“Hmmphff!” was all that Anthony could manage to say. His tongue was curled around the device and the effect of having his mouth filled with the plastic probe caused him to salivate. 

Miss Berry held Anthony’s head firmly. She was experienced at fitting the Speech Modifiers and she could see by the startled look in Anthony’s eyes that he would begin to gag as the tip of the device began to tickle his throat. Sure enough Anthony tried to cough and his eyes began to water. 

“There, there, Anthony… there, there,” she said and stroked the back of Anthony’s head, “You’ll soon get used to wearing it… keep your mouth closed… It helps if you suck the Modifier… yes, that’s it… suck and swallow the saliva… Good boy, Anthony, you’re learning quickly…” 

Miss Berry held the probe fully in Anthony’s mouth with the end-plate pressed against his lips. She turned to his mother: “Anthony’s being such a brave boy. He’s doing so well. I do think the Speech Modifier is going to help Anthony with his little problem.” 

She turned back to the youngster: “Can you feel the ridge just inside your mouth Anthony?” 

“Hmmphff!” came Anthony’s reply which Miss Berry took to mean “Yes”. 

“Good boy… now I want you to bite on the device so that your teeth are holding the ridge inside your mouth. That way I can let go and you can show me what a clever boy you are and that you can keep the Modifier in your mouth all by yourself… Can you do that, Anthony?” 

“Hmmphff!” 

Miss Berry took her hand away. She kept hold of the back of Anthony’s head and turned to his mother and beamed: “Look at that! Anthony’s holding the Modifier in his mouth all by himself! What a clever little boy!” 

Anthony was crossing his eyes in an attempt to look at the Speech Modifier, or at least that part it that protruded from his mouth. He could just about make out the pink ring which was attached to a small flesh-coloured plate that pressed against his lips. His jaw was beginning to ache from having to bite on the device and he found that he had constantly to suck and swallow the endless amount of saliva he was producing. 

It wasn’t long before he felt a trickle of saliva on his chin as it oozed from between his lips. 

“That’s perfectly normal, Mrs Green. Boys always have the dribbles when they are fitted with the Speech Modifier,” Miss Berry explained. “I’m afraid boys do tend to get rather embarrassed about it…” she added, drawing attention to Anthony’s already beet-red face. 

His mother looked disapprovingly at Anthony, who couldn’t stop the drool as it ran down his chin. 

“The most effective answer to dribbling is a good old-fashioned bib…” Miss Berry announced in a matter-of-fact way, “I strongly advise that boys should always wear a bib whenever they have their Speech Modifiers in their mouths…” 

There was another “Hmmphff!” from Anthony and a long string of drool dripped from his chin. It splashed onto the front of his tee-shirt just as another bubble of drool began to foam from between his tightly closed lips. 

“See what I mean?” Miss Berry said as she pointed at the dribbling boy. “A bib is the only answer.” 

“Just one other thing, Mrs Green, before we finish… I should explain that there is one other unfortunate side-effect of the treatment…” 

“What, other than Anthony needing a bib when he starts to dribble?” 

“Yes, but as you can see that is easily dealt with… The other side-effect is just as easy to deal with,” she said brightly, “In some rare cases I’ve observed an increase in bed-wetting… I don’t know why this should happen as there appears to be no physical reason why a boy should suddenly start wetting his bed. Indeed the cases of this happening are so exceptional that I wonder if there is any connection at all. However, I would strongly advise that you buy some DryNites Pyjama Pants for Anthony and make sure he wears them for bed from now on…” 

At this news Anthony spluttered: “Hmmphff! Mmmph! Hmmphff!” He reached up, grabbed the ring and jerked the device out of his mouth. His face was screwed up into a picture of wounded pride: 

“But mummy… I don’t wet the bed! It’s not fair! I don’t!” 

Anthony looked a sight with his brow furrowed, his eyes wet and drool trickling from his lips: “I haven’t wet the bed in ages mummy…” 

Miss Berry smiled. She’d heard this all before. “Now Anthony, it’s just a precaution. No one is saying you wet your bed. I’m sure you haven’t wet your bed for a long time.” She smiled again, turned and winked at Anthony’s mum as if to say “Of course we understand… we won’t tell… if you say you don’t wet the bed…” in that annoying way that grown-ups do when they don’t believe a word of what they are being told. 

“… and besides, Anthony, DryNites Pyjama Pants come in a range of exciting patterns especially designed for older boys. I think one pair of Pyjama Pants even has space rockets on it! I’m sure once you see them you’ll want to try them on straightaway…”

Anthony was fuming. As far as he was concerned there was no problem with his speech. It was just that sometimes he got a bit nervous and bit his tongue, or his lip, or he just froze. Now he was going to have to put this stupid dummy-thing in his mouth that made him gag and drool so much that he had to wear a bib… and now he was told he'd have to wear Pyjama Pants because he might wet himself in bed! It was so unfair!! 

“Now, Anthony… did I say you could remove your Speech Modifier?” Miss Berry asked. 

Anthony hung his head and before he realised what he was doing had pouted, then sucked in his bottom lip. He shook his head, “No, miss…” 

“That’s just the sort of behaviour that gets little boys into trouble isn’t it, Anthony?” 

“Yes, miss…” 

Anthony’s mum interjected: “As if I don’t have enough things to do… How am I going to make sure Anthony doesn’t take his modifier out of his mouth the moment my back is turned?” 

Miss Berry smiled: “We do have things that can help to ensure naughty boys keep their Speech Modifiers in their mouths for the prescribed amount of time… but shall we see how he gets along with it first?” She patted Anthony gently on his bare thighs making the fourteen year old feel even more of a little boy. “Now pop it back in your mouth Anthony… that’s it… good boy… show me how you can do it all by yourself!” 

Anthony did as he was told. As he slid the plastic device between his lips until he felt its rubbery bulbous tip press against the back of his mouth, he wondered what the ‘things’ were that would make sure he kept the Speech Modifier in place. He bit down on the device and felt the mouth guard press against his lip. He didn’t like it at all… 

“Now Anthony, I want you to go and wait outside in Reception. I need to have a few words with mummy in private about your treatment,” Miss Berry said, which had the effect, no doubt intended, of making Anthony even more anxious than he already was and drool started to bubble from his mouth once more. 

“Oh dear me… It’s looks like we’re going to have to do something about your dribbling before you leave us, Anthony.” Miss Berry said and strode over to a side-cupboard from which she produced a Terry-towel bib. She turned towards Anthony who had a look of dismay on his face. “I’m afraid this is only clean bib I have left, but it will do for now…” 

“Hmmphff! Mmmph! Hmmphff!” Anthony’s eyes popped out as even more saliva dribbled down his chin from which a string of goo swung precariously close to the front of his pale pink shortalls. The bib that Miss Berry held up was clearly designed for a younger boy, a much younger boy, certainly not a boy of 14 like Anthony. Nevertheless, despite Anthony’s evident distress, the childish, brightly coloured ‘Care Bears’ bib was tied around his neck. Miss Berry then took him by the hand and led him from the consulting-room, out into the reception area. 

Anthony nearly spat out the Speech Modifier again when he saw who was sat in one of the chairs. 

“Hey, Anthony!” his cousin Sean said with a huge grin on his face, “Hey! Check out the Care Bear Boy! Sweet!” 

Poor Anthony couldn’t believe it. Of all the people to run into, it had to be Sean! He would never live this down. He knew that he might just as well have stood in the town square as be seen by his cousin Sean. Sean, he knew, had an eleven year old’s instinct for mischief and would seize any opportunity to humiliate an older boy like himself. Sean would make sure everyone, but everyone, knew that Anthony wore a little kiddie-bib and sucked on a dummy! 

But quite why Sean was sitting in the waiting room, Anthony had no idea. In the red-faced heat of the embarrassing moment, Sean's presence was something that it didn’t even occur to him to question. All Anthony was concerned about was the unbelievably acute sense of shame that he was experiencing having been caught drooling and dribbling onto a Care Bears bib in full view of his eleven year old cousin. 

Sean patted the seat next to him: “Come and sit down… and (snigger) tell me what’s occurring… what’s that? You can’t tell me? Why’s that… oh, yeah… I can see why. It’s because you’re sucking on your dummy isn’t it? That’s a shame (snigger)” 

Anthony was furious. It wasn’t just that he’s been caught sucking on the dingus in his mouth; that was bad enough. It wasn’t just that he’d been made to wear the humiliating Care Bears bib into the reception area. It was because it was all so unfair! He didn’t have a lazy tongue, or whatever they called it. He didn’t see why he had to put that horrible thing in his mouth that made him gag and dribble like a baby. Then, on top of everything, to be seen by his cousin Sean! Anthony knew he’d never live it down… Sean would take great delight in making sure of that! 
 
 

3

 

Upset as Anthony was at being caught by Sean, he would have been even more upset to learn that his cousin was to be his new babysitter. His Aunty Gladys had very kindly offered the services of her younger son when she found out what Anthony’s ‘therapy’ would be likely to entail. 

Initially Sean had been less than enthusiastic: “Aw, mum, do I have to…?” That attitude changed to one of curiosity when he was told his cousin would have to wear a special device in his mouth. 

“What sort of device?” he asked. 

“Well… it’s a bit like a dummy… only it's not called a dummy,” his mother explained, “It’s called a Speech Modifier, or something. Anyway, Anthony has to keep it in his mouth… and, well his mum is concerned that he’ll try and take it out before… Well, we think someone should keep an eye on him and as we don’t have the time, I thought you might like to help…” 

Sean’s eyes widened with every word his mum spoke: “You mean Anthony’s got to suck on a kid’s dummy?” 

“It’s not called a dummy, Sean. I think Anthony would be most upset if people thought he was sucking on a dummy. It will be bad enough for him to have to put the device... speech-thing, or whatever it's called... into his mouth when he’s told to without everyone thinking it’s a child’s dummy he’s sucking.” 

Sean’s eyes grow wide. The possibilities for humiliating his cousin which this news presented were endless. Sean imagined telling his friends about Anthony’s dummy… well it was a dummy, no matter what mum said… he imagined their faces and he imagined their sneers of derision as they mocked a fourteen year old forced to stand and suck his dummy in front of them. Oh, thought Sean, this is going to be priceless! 

All he said in reply to his mum though was: “Sure, mum. You want me to tell everyone that Anthony’s not sucking a kid’s dummy?” 

“Of course… that’s what I said, Sean,” his mum said. 

To Sean this was a licence to tell everyone about Anthony’s dummy, or rather to tell everyone that what Anthony was sucking on was not a kid’s dummy, “… but don’t take my word for it… see for yourself…” 

“… and when he has to wear a bib…” Sean’s mum continued. 

A bib!!” Sean exclaimed and his eyes grew even wider. 

“Yes, Sean. Anthony will have to wear a bib, because with the Speech Modifier-thing in his mouth all the time it means he will dribble a lot… it’s unfortunate, but there it is… you’ll have to help Anthony to change his bib when he needs to, you see it will be difficult for Anthony to do, because of his mittens…” 

Mittens…?” 

“Yes, Sean, mittens. Anthony will have to wear special mittens to stop him from trying to remove his dum… I mean Speech Modifier. 

To Sean hearing his mum telling him all this, it was like a dream come true. The idea his 14 year old cousin would be forced (there was no other word for it, since what teenage boy would willingly place a dummy in his mouth to suck on and to dribble like a baby?), yes forced to wear a speech dummy thing, was… awesome! And he, Sean, was being asked to help! 

“Sure, mum… sure, I’ll help look after Anthony… Make sure he keeps that thing in his mouth…” Sean magnanimously told his mum. Then, after a few seconds thought added, “Will I get some more pocket-money for helping?” 

“Hmm, we’ll see,” his mum answered, “Maybe Anthony will want to make a contribution out of his own pocket-money; after all, it’s him you’ll be helping… Yes, I’ll speak to your Aunty Hetty about it and I'm sure she'll sort something out for you, Sean.” 


4



And so as Anthony stepped out of the consulting-room wearing a Care Bears bib and with the Speech Modifier in his mouth, he saw Sean sitting in one of the waiting-room chairs. 

Sean patted the seat next to him: “Come and sit down…” 

“Hmmphff! Mmmph! Hmmphff!” Anthony replied as he looked down, startled at the appearance of his 11 year old cousin. 

“I’m here to look after you…” Sean explained. 

Anthony spat the modifier out of his mouth in disgust: “What!! No way…!” He was about to tell his cousin what he thought when he realised Sean knew about his ‘treatment’ even before he did! How unfair was that! 

“Anthony!!” Miss Berry called from the doorway of her consulting-room, “Anthony! Did I say you could take the Speech Modifier out of your mouth?” 

Anthony looked back sheepishly: “No, Miss Berry…” 

“I can see we’re going to have to do something about this… I can’t have you taking the modifier out of your mouth every time you feel like it… the treatment will never work if you don’t keep the device firmly in your mouth where it belongs…” 

“No, Miss Berry. I’m sorry, Miss Berry…” Anthony was very contrite and felt humiliated, watched as he was by his young cousin. Sean, having already succeeded in getting his cousin into hot water, sat grinning from ear to ear as Anthony was berated by Miss Berry. 

“I think you had better come back into my room… you come with us as well Sean.” 

Anthony’s mouth fell open: “What’s Sean…?” 

Sean led the way and as he passed Anthony he grabbed him by the hand and pulled him towards Miss Berry’s consulting-room: “Come on…!” he said eagerly. 

Back in the room Sean was allowed to sit next to Anthony’s mum, while Anthony himself was left standing in his humiliatingly juvenile shortalls and with a Care Bears bib tied around his neck, he faced an angry looking Miss Berry. Anthony quickly pushed the Speech Modifier back into his mouth as far as it would go. Out of the corner of his eye he could see the smile on his cousin’s face and it dawned on him that it was Sean’s deliberate teasing that had got him into trouble. 

Anthony then found out the reason for his young cousin’s presence as Miss Berry explained to his mother: “In my professional opinion Anthony is going to need constant supervision if we are to make any progress at all… There are of course certain things that can be done to ensure he does make progress… We can train a boy out of lazy tongue…” and here she looked sternly at Anthony, “… even the most recalcitrant boys…” She turned back to face Anthony’s mum again and continued, “Boys with lazy tongue often don’t understand how important mouth training is for their future health…” 

Then came a bombshell. Anthony stood stock-still feeling the plastic device with its rubbery tip filling his mouth as Miss Berry continued calmly: “I understand that Sean is almost twelve years old now and has already shown a good deal more responsibility than I have so far observed in his older cousin…” 

“That’s correct.” It was his mum’s turn to add to Anthony’s growing sense of unease. “Yes, Sean is a very mature young boy… I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he wasn’t made a Junior Prefect very soon…” she added and proudly patted her nephew on the knee, although this knee was covered by smart chinos, unlike Anthony’s knees which were of course bare. 

Sean blushed at the effusive praise that was lavished upon him and swung his legs backwards and forwards as he listened. He knew what was coming and he also knew that Anthony did not. In fact, he knew that Anthony didn’t have a clue! 

“The reason Sean is here Anthony is to help us make sure that you behave during your treatment. I had reservations as to whether you would need such close supervision, but after your performance just now in the waiting-room, I can see that it was wrong of me to think you could be trusted to obey my simple instructions…” 

Anthony glared sideways at his cousin. Drool had again begun to dribble from his mouth and mucus, oozing from his nose, glistened on his top lip. He breathed heavily, feeling indignant that he was considered less mature than Sean, three years his junior! Without thinking he raised his hand up to wipe the snot from his nose. 

“Stop that at once!” Miss Berry shouted, “You are not to touch the Speech Modifier unless given express permission to do so!” 

Anthony swung his head back to look at Miss Berry. The injustice of it all! How could he explain that he was only going to wipe away the snot which was tickling his upper lip? 

“Hmmphff! Mmmph!” was all he could manage. “Hmmphff! Mmmph!” he tried to protest his innocence. 

“That is quite enough, Anthony!” Miss Berry continued. “I don’t need any more proof of your wilful behaviour to know that I was quite, quite wrong to think you wouldn’t need constant supervision…” 

“Come over here darling,” Anthony’s mother interrupted, “Your nose is running. Here let me wipe it for you. It’s as well you’re wearing a bib… just looking at all this dribble you’re making reminds me of when you were a little boy.” 

While his mum wiped his face and chin, Miss Berry walked across the room to a cupboard. What she took from it caused Sean’s eyes to light up; it was the mittens! And Sean could see that they weren’t just ordinary mittens. Ordinary mittens, Sean knew, had thumbs. Ordinary mittens weren’t made of that shiny plastic looking stuff. And ordinary mittens didn’t have cords, like boxing-gloves, to tie them in place so they couldn’t be taken off by the wearer! 

Yes, Sean was very excited indeed and thrilled to think he would soon see Anthony wearing his special mittens! 

“Hold out your hands, Anthony,” Miss Berry ordered and she slipped the tight, shinny mittens over Anthony’s hands.
 
It was an odd sensation for Anthony feeling the mittens being tied in place and he soon realised how utterly helpless he would be wearing them. There was nothing he could do for himself while the mittens were being worn. He would have to rely on someone else to take them off as that was clearly an impossible task for the wearer. 

Once more Anthony had the distinct impression that Sean knew far more than he did about his own treatment. Sean seemed to know all about the mittens and why he was told he needed to wear them. Sean knew all about the elastic cord that was threaded through the special lugs in the lip-plate of the Speech Modifier. Sean knew how once the cord was stretched over Anthony’s head it would be impossible for him to spit out the device from his mouth.  

Meanwhile Sean’s mind was working in overdrive. He could see endless possibilities for humiliating Anthony. Why, all he’d have to do was loosen a couple of buttons on those stupid little shortalls for instance and there’d be nothing Anthony could do to stop them falling down in front of everyone. He’d make Anthony do a shuffle with his silly shortalls around his ankles and tell him off for being so clumsy. Oh, yes, Sean thought, this is going to be so cool!