Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy (OMT)
At Monkey Mouths, we use Orofacial myofunctional therapy (OMT) to incorporate specifically designed exercises to target speech, swallowing, and resting posture. Exercises are introduced in weekly speech therapy sessions and then practiced at home. We recognize that all patients are different and customize therapy to the individual needs of each child or adult. OMT can be structured in a set 12-15 week protocol as well as incorporated in to traditional speech therapy based on the right fit for the child. OMT exercises are always incorporated into traditional speech therapy when appropriate.
My dentist just diagnosed my child with a “tongue tie”…what happens next?
A dentist or physician might diagnose a “tongue tie” and recommend an evaluation by a speech pathologist. SLPs determine whether the tongue’s range of motion, strength, and coordination is negatively impacting speech, swallowing, or resting posture and provide treatment if needed. Research shows that both surgical release and therapy are instrumental in remediating tongue ties.
What will a speech pathologist assess during the evaluation?
Speech pathologists evaluate how the tongue and oral structures move during speech sound production, eating foods, and while at rest during silent breathing. A speech evaluation is a comprehensive look at how the mouth is functioning in these areas and a specific plan is made for how to teach any delayed skills.
Do you see adults for OMT?
Yes! Our practice is open to teens and adults with OMT disorders.
What are some common signs and symptoms of tongue tie or tongue thrust?
Some “red flags” of a tongue tie or tongue thrust include: history of difficulty breastfeeding as an infant (difficulty latching, nipple pain, prolonged feedings, difficulty gaining weight), open mouth chewing, food refusals including tougher meats and mixed consistencies (soups, hamburger, cereal, etc), deconstructing foods to eat items individually, and mouth breathing.
How do speech, swallowing, and resting posture go together?
All of these areas have an action that requires the tongue to touch the same spot on the roof of the mouth. The tongue tip has to be both strong and well coordinated to produce/t,d,n,l,ch, j/, collect scattered food in the mouth, push up on the palate to swallow, and stay resting on the palate when not in use.
How do dentists/physicians and speech pathologists work together when considering a “tongue tie”?
The best way to describe our relationship is doctors diagnose structure and speech pathologists assess function. We work together to comprehensively look at how a child’s given structure is functioning while breathing, swallowing, and speech to determine whether therapy and/or a surgical revision is warranted. Tongue ties can be diagnosed and surgically released by dentists and physicians. Speech pathologists provide therapy to teach the appropriate function. Since the tongue is a muscle, it often has to be re-trained with a speech pathologist break old habits and learn new muscle patterns.
What will the timing of my child’s tongue tie release and speech therapy look like?
Ideally, after a tongue tie is diagnosed by a dentist or physician, a child receives a speech evaluation and a few therapy sessions begin to teach the tongue where it will go and practice exercises for post-op. Your doctor will tell you when it is safe to start post-op exercises, which can range from immediately to up to 7 days. Speech therapy will continue in order to teach necessary skills and reach maximum function.
New to Monkey Mouths?
1. Call us at (817) 479-7019 to schedule an evaluation, where a therapist determines whether your child would benefit from therapy.
2. Moving forward, the first therapy appointment is scheduled, and 3- and 6-month goals are set for your child. We discuss progress and goals together, and your family is integrated along every step of the therapy journey.
“Our whole family LOVES Monkey Mouths! We go for therapy twice weekly and are always greeted with happy smiles…I couldn’t recommend this place enough.”
How does this relate to sleep?
As speech pathologists, we do not address sleep directly but can help teach correct oral posture and nasal breathing. Our mouth’s resting position throughout the day and night is in the same place: the tongue points to touch the roof of the mouth as the lips remain closed around it. This allows us to breathe through our nose, which is optimal for our bodies. If the tongue is not able to remain in this position at night, open mouth breathing is likely, and could have adverse affects on the airway. We recommend talking with your child’s physician regarding breathing and sleep concerns.
What does a speech therapy appointment look like?
Most commonly, speech therapy appointments are 30 minutes in length 1-2x/week. We love caregivers attending and even participating in the sessions so you feel best equipped to practice at home. We teach functional skills during the session for you to practice at home.
What does a speech evaluation look like?
A speech pathologist will meet with your family at one of our four locations. We set aside over an hour to comprehensively evaluate your child’s speech and feeding function, listen to any concerns, understand your child’s individual needs, determine whether speech therapy is needed, and if so make a plan to achieve skills at an age appropriate level. We do our best to schedule evaluations within 2 weeks of your call date. Please mention OMT if a dentist or physician has previously recommended this for your child. If you would like to schedule an evaluation, please call our main location at 817.479.7019.
Specialized Oral-Myofunctional Techniques:
Academy of Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy
OMT SpecialtyTraining by Patricia Gurinsky M.S., CCC-SLP/OMT
Tethered Oral Tissues Specialty Training
FUNCTIONAL ASSESSMENT OF TETHERED ORAL TISSUES (TOTS) by Lori Overland M.S., CCC-SLP
Simon Says Tongue Tips and Tiny Tongue Tips