In order for a child to effectively eat, drink and talk, the muscles of the lips, tongue and jaw must have appropriate strength, coordination and flexibility. Speech delays and feeding problems may be a sign of oral motor impairment. Children with oral motor problems will demonstrate the following:
- Droopy or long face
- Mouth stays open, difficulty closing lips
- Difficulty biting into foods
- Difficulty chewing
- Gags frequently when eating
- Difficulty sticking out the tongue or moving it side to side
- Difficulty swallowing
- Difficulty drinking from a cup or straw
- Speech that is hard to understand
- Excessive lisping
- Takes extra time to form words
- Drool past the age of 18 months
Speech therapy for children with any of these deficits would be focused on strengthening and stimulation of weak muscles, and lengthening of tight muscles in the mouth.
Ability Plus Therapy has highly qualified speech-language pathologists who specialize in speech disorders and oral motor impairments. Our highly trained therapists are certified in Beckman Oral Motor Protocol including Orofacial Deep Tissue Release. Orofacial deep tissue release increases range of movement for the orofacial structures and can address a variety of issues such as scar tissue, paralysis, tongue tie, lip tie hypertonicity and hypotonicity in addition to many others. This is helpful for comfort, feeding and swallowing, speech, etc.
We are the only clinic that uses Sona Speech system on children to develop breath control and verbal intelligibility (go to our Sona Speech Therapy page for details).