This oral motor/ swallowing evaluation involves taking clinical photographs of a client's posture, face, inside the mouth, the teeth, the lips, & under the tongue.
We assess the orofacial structures and functional skills. We evaluate the structure, range of movement, stability, control, coordination, and dissociation of a client's cheeks, jaw, lips, & tongue. We use a combination of structured therapy tools and fun toys (for children) to assess these skills.
We analyze a client's eating, chewing, drinking, and swallowing skills with a variety of food textures. Due to allergies, we ask the client/ parent to bring crunchy, soft, hard, puree, and chewy foods and a drink. We analyze the type & variety of each client’s accepted foods in relation to their family’s eating style.
Our licensed and certified Speech-Language Pathologists & Certified Orofacial Myologists use a structured, client-centered approach to improve each client’s oral motor, chewing, swallowing, & eating difficulties. Sessions occur in 30 min increments. In each session, 25-28 min is direct & indirect treatment with the client & caregivers for training in home exercise plan/carryover and 3-5 min is reserved for questions, answers, & clean-up/disinfection.
Oromyofunctional treatment is appropriate for clients who are 4 years & older & focuses on 4 related areas:
1.Eliminating any inappropriate chewing (on clothing or other items) or thumb &/or finger sucking (digit) habits.
2.Oral Resting Posture: nasal breathing, lips closed, teeth slightly apart, & tongue resting lightly on the roof of the mouth (palate).
3.Chewing (mastication) of foods, management/collection of this chewed food (food bolus), & transfer (oral transit) of the food/liquid from the mouth (oral cavity) to the throat (pharynx).
4.Balancing, alignment, range of movement, stability, control, coordination, & dissociation of the orofacial muscles (cheeks, jaw, lips, & tongue).
For children, direct treatment will occur via play & fun tasks at the table or on the floor. Often, we use visual picture/word schedules so that each client can see what will occur during the session. We utilize sensory-motor techniques as indicated during treatement. As appropriate, we employ Beckman stretches, Talk Tools hierarchies, PROMPTs, & a variety of other traditional and state-of-the-art therapy techniques as well to help each client improve their skills. It’s vital that clients and their caregivers understand what, how, & why to practice these skills at home for continued improvements.
For adults, during direct treatment, a client will participate in learning about how/why their orofacial muscles are dysfunctional & how best to improve the alignment, balancing, range of movement, stability, control, coordination, & dissociation of the orofacial muscles (cheeks, jaw, lips, & tongue). The home exercise carryover program is a vital part of the therapeutic process.