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  • Writer's pictureShaina Rafkin

Let's treat the root cause and set up our kids for success!

Working on correct sound production without addressing an underlying OMD (orofacial myofunctional disorder) is like teaching someone to run a marathon in slippers!!🏃‍♂️😮Lets treat the root cause and set up our kids for success!

So many times I've heard therapists say, "The child can produce the sound correctly at the word level but when they try saying it in longer phrases or repeating it multiple times it just all falls apart!."

Speaking is a sequence of rapid precise movements. We produce around 14 sounds per second!! If a child has an OMD such as low tongue posture due to mouth breathing, the tongue is low and forward instead of high and back and they are already at a disadvantage in the race.

Here are some ways an OMD can play a role in speech sound disorders:

🏃‍♀️When the tongue's resting position is low and forward it's almost like the tongue needs to get back on the race track (stabilized on the roof of the mouth) in between producing each sound. That is exhausting and requires a lot more effort to speak with correct placement.

🏃‍♂️When a child does not swallow with tongue tip to the "spot" (aka tongue thrust), it is much harder to swallow and manage the saliva while talking so it collects over time making it harder to speak clearly.

🏃‍♀️It's almost like the tongue has been on "bed rest" just chilling on the bottom of the mouth. so it's not as strong and coordinated compared to a tongue that has been functioning optimally on the roof of the mouth.

🏃‍♂️ Of course if a tongue tie is present, it's like trying to run a marathon with your shoelaces tied together!😱

So.... Is it possible to teach someone to run a race in slippers? Yes. But it's definitely not ideal. The speech sound will probably never fully carryover to everyday speech and/or will most likely require compensation using other muscles dysfunctionally.

So if you suspect there might be an OMD at play, do the oral exam! And if you're not sure, refer to someone who is trained in myofunctional therapy and tethered oral tissues! Let's set up our kids for success!

Have you ever suspected that your speech sound client may have an underlying OMD?


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