An oral motor disorders is the
inability to use the mouth effectively for speaking eating, chewing, blowing,
or making specific sounds.
One cause is the brain sending
a message to the muscles of the mouth that the muscles don’t receive or
misinterpret. This causes the muscles either to not move at all, or to move
incorrectly. Another cause is low muscle tone of the lips, tongue or jaw.
Signs of an oral motor problem
A child who has difficulty
moving his or her lips, tongue or jaw to produce a variety of sounds may
struggle to communicate.
Weakness of the muscles of the
lips, tongue or jaw make it difficult to chew, swallow and manipulate food
within the mouth. This can result in episodes of choking or gagging that affect
a child’s willingness to eat.
Strengthening the muscles and
their connections to the brain can be very important in improving both eating
If you suspect your child has
oral motor disorder, share your concerns with your pediatrician. You may be
given a referral to a speech-language pathologist (speech therapist) for
The outlook for every child is
different depending on a variety of factors. The severity of the disorder, the
cause of the disorder, the child’s age when treatment begins, individual
response to treatment, and the support of parents and teachers all make a
In speech therapy, clinicians use techniques to improve function and
coordination of oral motor structures (lips, jaw, tongue, cheeks, etc). Therapy
may include passive and/or active stimulation. This is done in a positive play
environment tailored to your child’s individual needs.
Back to Courage Kenny Kids services.
Courage Kenny Kids
Sara Rhode, OTR/L, manager, Courage Kenny Kids
Courage Kenny Kids locations
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