People often associate speech therapy with kids who need to learn how to speak. However, speech pathologists also provide treatment for adults to assist with communication, thought processes, and safe ingestion or drinking. Continue reading to learn about speech therapy for adults.Speech therapy deals with assessing and treating people experiencing challenges with language, speech, swallowing…
How a Speech Pathologist Uses Oral Motor Exercises to Help with Speech Production and Muscles
Individuals who have certain difficulties producing speech are sometimes given oral motor exercises as part of speech and language therapy. Read on to learn about this type of exercise. People who have difficulties moving the oral-motor muscles (lips, vocal folds, tongue, and jaw) required for eating and drinking can also benefit from oral motor exercises. A speech pathologist can use these exercises to help both children and adults who have trouble efficiently engaging their speech and swallowing muscles.
An overview of oral motor exercises in speech pathology
Many children who have articulation problems have a problem with their oral mechanisms. The movement of the facial muscles is referred to as oral-motor abilities, which include muscular strength, coordination, range of motion, muscle tone, speed, and dissociation.
Clinical experience shows that sound production and feeding abilities are based on the acquisition and development of oral-motor movements (e.g., sucking, biting, and chewing). Oral-motor patterns in children with developmental impairments may differ from those seen in usual development. Jaw thrusting, tongue thrusting, lip retraction, and tongue retraction are examples of unusual oral-motor movements.
How it works
Oral motor exercises are specialized workouts that seek to enhance the oral muscles' control, coordination, and strength. Oral motor exercises work in speech therapy as a continuous process. Both adults and children can benefit from oral-motor activities.
An initial evaluation will aid in determining the appropriate level of therapy for the patient. The speech pathologist will use oral motor exercises and breathing exercises and articulation treatment for more advanced activities.
Exercises are tailored to the individual's unique requirements and skills, beginning at the most basic level and progressing to more challenging exercises. Therapy will progress in a step-by-step fashion, emphasizing oral motor exercises, speaking, and breathing. Individuals' capacity to coordinate and sequence oral motor activity, speech, and breathing will increase due to this therapy. The primary goal of treatment will be to improve effective communication so the patient can reach their full potential.
This treatment approach is widely utilized and effective in the treatment of adults with dyspraxia. Oral motor exercises will also aid in enhancing an individual's eating and drinking by increasing oral-motor motions. This will allow the person to have greater control over how their food and drinks are manipulated throughout the oral stage of eating and drinking.
Starting oral motor exercises
Proper coordination, adequate strength, and range of motion of their lips, tongue, and jaw are required in order to correctly make speech sounds. During an initial evaluation, a speech pathologist may ask a child to do different exercises/movements with their lips, tongue, teeth, and jaw to determine whether an oral motor weakness exists and whether speech therapy is necessary.
A speech-language pathologist may use oral motor exercises combined with articulation treatment to enhance speech clarity. These are skills that will be taught in treatment and may be practiced at home. Blowing horns, bubbles, and cotton balls; sucking or drinking; up-and-down tongue motions; licking, biting, or pressing on a tongue depressor with the lips; or breathing control exercises may be included in the oral therapy intervention plan.
Oral motor exercises help strengthen and coordinate the mouth muscles, which are utilized for speaking, eating, and drinking. If you think you could benefit from speech therapy or if you would like more information about oral motor exercises, schedule a consultation with a speech pathologist.
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