What is Speech and Language Oral Motor Therapy?

Speech and language oral motor therapy is considered to be an effective approach when it comes to treating speech and language disorders. Aside from being useful in improving speech production, it is also capable of treating a lot of issues linked to feeding. If you have a child who is facing difficulty in moving food around using his tongue and chew it, then the therapy can work perfectly in improving his condition. If provided by a competent and effective speech language pathologist, the therapy can even be expected to offer a great number of advantages.

Oral motor difficulties usually result from certain events or diseases that have caused a lot of damage on that specific brain area which is responsible in controlling your oral muscles. Some of the major causes include stroke, Parkinson's disease, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), tumor, multiple sclerosis, motor neuron disease and cerebral palsy. These conditions are capable of negatively affecting your oral motor functions and the effects will vary depending on the severity of your case and injury. No matter what caused your oral motor to malfunction, you can still expect the therapy to work perfectly in improving your overall production of speech.

Do You Need it?

You will know if you are already suffering from oral motor disorders once you experience its symptoms including poor speech clarity, poor strength and coordination of your tongue, lips and jaw, drooling, voice changes and difficulty in chewing and swallowing. It is also important for you to take note of the fact that while the oral motor therapy is capable of treating the problems in your oral motor, it can also be expected to help in curing certain speech disorders including oral apraxia, verbal apraxia and dysarthria. Oral apraxia can be characterized by facing difficulties when it comes to executing certain oral muscle movements that are supposed to be performed as a means to follow a command.

Verbal apraxia, on the other hand, is a disorder which is capable of negatively affecting the voluntary muscle movements required in proper speaking. This condition will cause you to experience extreme difficulty in speaking since you will be unable to move your speech muscles in the right sequence. Dysarthria is known to be a neurological disorder which is capable of impairing your oral muscles. This condition is usually characterized by low muscle tone, muscle weakness, fluctuating tone or increased muscle tone. All of these speech disorders can be treated with the help of a speech and language oral motor therapy.

Oral motor therapy designed to improve your speech and language ability can be performed by learning some basic exercises for your mouth. These exercises are perfect for children and adult who aim to improve their ability to speak by using fun and exciting activities. For children, the most effective activities for them include the blowing of cotton balls, whistles, windmills and horns, the sucking of thickened drinks while using straws, the licking of peanut butter or any other types of foods around their mouth, the chewing of plastic and playing with the use of oral motor toys and tools. All of these activities are capable of making children feel utmost fun while undergoing the therapy.

Isometric exercises are also proven to be great for oral motor therapy. This is known to be that type of strength training which requires you to push your oral muscles against a steady force. These exercises are known to be effective when it comes to increasing the strength of your oral muscles. The simple act of brushing can also be expected to work as an effective exercise for oral motor therapy. All you have to do is to shop for toothbrushes with different stiffness levels. Use the different levels of toothbrush starting from soft to stiff in brushing your upper and lower lips. You should also consider brushing the muscles that surround your mouth. This is capable of improving your oral motor muscles while also helping you treat certain speech disorders.

More Information On Speech and Language Oral Motor

  1. Beckman Oral Motor Therapy
  2. Oral Motor Exercises to Try at Home