Approximately 39% of children with developmental disabilities have been described as having severe feeding problems. The prevalence of oral motor problems in CP is 68–90% (Kc Min et al., 2022) which also manifest with speech difficulty and drooling. In their 2016 paper, Gokce and Selim reported oral motor impairment in 16.2% of children with feeding disorders.
Recent clinical work with children who have sensory processing/developmental dysfunction has revealed a strong association between subtle oral-motor and respiratory dysfunction and many sensory integrative and sensory motor problems. It is in the best interest of professionals and caregivers to learn more about oral motor sensory input and receive practical strategies and exercises to utilize.
What are Oral Motor Sensory skills?
Oral motor skills are the movements of the muscles of and within the mouth. The skills involve the use of the lips, tongue, cheeks, jaw, and hard and soft palates in speaking, and in feeding-related tasks such as sucking, biting, chewing, crunching, licking, blowing and swallowing.
Oral sensory input refers to a child’s ability to bite, chew, suck, and blow. These skills require our tactile, proprioceptive and interoceptive sensory systems. Children that have poor proprioception and interoception struggle to process their sensory systems. This can cause incorrect messages to be sent to the muscles in one’s oral sensory system and can lead to children biting and chewing. Biting and chewing are effective ways for a child and/or adult to help self-regulate and support task performance. We all have sensory preferences toward a sensory modality that includes a need to chew, such or bite on something with different intensity levels. Children with autism have been noted to chew as a common sensory need.
The courses are suitable for:
- Occupational Therapists and Occupational Therapist Assistants
- Physical Therapists
- Speech Therapists
- Special Education Providers
Upcoming Oral Motor Sensory Courses
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Examples of oral motor exercises for toddlers & kids
- drinking from a water bottle
- resistive sucking through a straw
- blowing bubbles with a wand or into a bucket of water with a little bit of soap for bubble mountain
- chewing large pieces of gum
- having a snack with crunchy foods
- sucking on hard candy among others
- using a vibrating toothbrush
- encourage children to use mouth toys such as whistles, harmonica, kazoo etc.
Oral motor sensory skills are an essential assessment in a child’s development and milestones attainment. Theramoves offers online courses that address oral motor exercises that can help children and adults achieve a calmer state.