Oral Motor Dysfunction
What is an oral motor dysfunction?
Oral motor skills include strength, coordination, awareness, and movement of the tongue, jaw, cheeks, and lips. An oral motor dysfunction is defined by Allina Health as the inability to use the mouth effectively for speaking, eating, chewing, swallowing, or making specific sounds.
This kind of disorder is caused by a malfunction where the brain attempts to send signals or messages to mouth muscles, but the muscles do not receive or interpret the signals properly. This results in the muscles either freezing up or moving incorrectly. Another cause of this disorder is the low muscle tone of the tongue, lips, or jaw.
A Therapy Care therapist can properly assess your child’s condition to determine if they have an oral motor dysfunction.
How can Therapy Care help my child?
If your child does have an oral motor dysfunction, therapy can address it directly.
Therapy Care in Batavia’s therapists will be able not only to assess your child’s condition, but also to improve their ability to speak, eat, and swallow properly.
Some examples of common oral motor disorder are “dysphagia,” which presents itself as trouble with swallowing, or “dysarthria,” which causes slurred speech.
There are multiple signs of oral motor dysfunction issues than can present themselves in children, including:
- Holding their mouths open
- Having trouble using drinking straws
- Inability to stick out their tongue or move it around
- Difficulty making or imitating sounds and oral movements
- Messy eating habits
We encourage your child to improve these skills in a warm, fun, inviting environment by helping them to strengthen weak oral muscles of their lips, tongue, and jaw. Exercises may include activities such as blowing bubbles, using straws, whistling, or moving oral muscles by making silly faces.
A speech therapist can help determine why your child is having trouble with feeding, speaking, or swallowing, as well as create a treatment plan that will teach them how to eat, drink, and communicate without restrictions.
Ready to get started?
Therapy Care in Batavia pediatric speech therapists help children establish their speech and language skills for effective eating, drinking, and communication. If you believe your child is not meeting the proper milestones in regards to their speech or language skills, call us today.