MS symptoms: Delayed Speech

speechBLAST from the PAST! The next two weeks I am reposting my favorite posts from the past. Enjoy while I vacation in England!

November 4, 2013
Just wait, it’s coming! That is what delayed speech is all about. I am cruising right along in conversation when all of the sudden… wait for it, wait for it, bam! There it is and on I go with my thought. Sometimes it causes me to stutter. Sometimes no one notices but me. Sometimes the delay is because my brain has stopped and nothing is going on until the word comes out while other times I am frantically trying to get the word I know I want to say. Still other times I simply cannot think of the word and my brain is searching through the wrong file folder for it. Whatever the reason, delayed speech is an MS symptom. 

To make life easier I have trained people around me to simply fill-in the word for me so we can keep going. This works when my brain is looking in the wrong file folder which was the case for many years. Today the delay seems to be related to a brain shutdown and reboot most of the time. When I am in public it is more difficult because the unsuspecting person is looking at me and waiting. Then the word comes out and behind it comes, “I have MS with language issues,” which is never enough explanation to someone who really doesn’t care because you already got the word out in the first place. I seriously need to figure out a better way to manage those situations such as the credit-card sized assistance card from the MS Society.

Up to 40% of MS patients have or will have speech related problems. For more information check out: MS Foundation’s article, “Getting the Word Out: Speech Difficulties and MS” at

Speech problems in MS with a link to the assistance card

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About the Author

Melissa Cook
Melissa Cook is the author of As a retired high school teacher and school district administrator, she chooses to share her MS story in hopes of benefiting others.