Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders
While all babies are born with a tongue thrust pattern and many suck their thumbs to calm themselves, most children outgrow these behaviors on their own. When a child does not outgrow these habits, however, speech, eating, and dental growth and development can be negatively affected. Examples of Oral Myofunctional Disorders (OMD) are a tongue thrust swallow, lisp, open-mouth resting posture, and thumb or finger sucking habit.
What Can Be Done To Help?
Many OMDs are best corrected through a team approach involving the child, family, dentist or orthodontist, and speech-language pathologist (SLP). The speech-language pathologist services at All Children's Hospital include an Orofacial Myofunctional Treatment Program. Our certified SLPs are specially trained in the evaluation and treatment of orofacial myofunctional issues.
At What Age Can My Child Begin?
A child with a thumb or finger sucking habit can be enrolled at five years of age. The best age to begin the tongue thrust correction program is eight years of age, with the majority of patients being 8-12 years old. Treatment may be recommended for younger children under certain circumstances.
The SLP will examine the child's oral structures, watch the child eat crackers and drink juice, observe the child's habitual resting posture, ask questions about feeding history, oral habits, and dental/orthodontic history, and assess the child's articulation (speech sound production). The appointment lasts about an hour.
Treatment May Be Recommended For a 4-7 Year Old Child If:
For A 4-7 Year Old Child If:
Thumb Sucking Treatment Program
A positive behavioral approach is used to eliminate sucking habits. It generally takes six months to eliminate DAY and NIGHT sucking habits. The child will be seen for a 15-30 minute session once weekly for three weeks, for a six-week recheck, and a six-month recheck.
To schedule an appointment, physicians or patients can call Speech Language Pathology (727) 767-4141 or submit an online appointment request. We accept most traditional insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, and most managed care plans. A physician referral is required for this evaluation.
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