Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Oral Motor, Oral Motor, Oral Motor!

I realize it is almost 9pm on day 3 of my 31 day challenge..technically it still counts! We were in Dallas today for Parker's NACD eval. There and back in a day, WHEW!

Oral motor...CRITICAL! And don't let them tell you it isn't necessary until they "talk." We had several Drs (even the specialist at the local DS clinic tell us 2 years was early enough). We started at 4months and it ranks close to the top of "do this right away ". My Dr. didn't think it was necessary, but wrote the RX because he knew I wasn't going to back down. Find someone that will honor your request for the RX. Talk to them about the research and tell them politely you appreciate they don't think it is necessary, but you want the RX order written. People often ask, "what can you do with a baby?" But, there truly are things that are of benefit and sooner rather than later. We started with a series of about 5 exercises in the mouth and cheeks and have continued to add things over the months. Palatel stretches are important, you've heard the comment that kids with DS have high palates. Guess what they really don't and if you start soon enough you can help stretch and mold the area. We did lip rounding and stretching as well as bite and roll tubes as Parker got older. Oral motor helps prevent tongue protrusion and we learned how to prompt Parker's tongue back in proper resting place if he wanted to push it out. Contrary to what most think, you should not push it back in! That builds the muscle and can worsen the issue! We do oral motor at home at every diaper change and feeding. Parker never minded the stretches and always complied easily. We keep a box of gloves handy and use them when we stretch his mouth. I will admit it got interesting when he got more than one tooth, but we still get them done! Oral motor is different than speech therapy although some ST's do have the training.

Climbing is a new favorite activity..here is Parker tonight climbing couch and yesterday on the dog gate...SIGH! :)


  1. We are not doing anything at the moment and our ST are not trained in any of the oral motor stuff, but I found out our dentist is doing a course in the work of Sandra Coulson, our first appointment is next week and I hope that we will start to work on mouth and tounge - Owens trouble is his mouth is open alot and his tounge rests on the floor of his mouth when his mouth is open, his palate is really high.

  2. check the ears!!!! That is first thing to rule out when the mouth is open even if he isn't showing signs of problems. I took Parker every 2 weeks for 6months to get a tympanagram. They finaly told me he'd had enough good ones to relax a bit, but i am still diligent. See if you pedi can do them, we go to our ENT to do them, but you can see the nurse or the audiologist not the Dr. Are you feeding dairy? If so, know it thickens mucous secretions and that can cause problems too. email me and I can scan some of these oral motor exercises if you'd like to show you??


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