Ask a Therapist: Tongue Protrusion When Drinking From A Cup

Posted by Deborah Grauzam on

Dear Sir/Madam,

 

I am a speech and language therapist working in the UK. I had the TalkTools training a couple of years back.I assessed a child last week taking over from another therapist who has just left. This child was advised to drink thick and thin fluids from a thick straw (McDonald's thickness). The child can drink thin fluids easily from straw #7 but has not had any success with straw #8. I observed the child with the thick fluid from a thick straw and they managed really well. When drinking from a cup with no straw there was still notable tongue protrusion. I am not quite sure where to move this child on? Should we move to straw #8 (thin fluids) and continue with thick fluids from a thicker straw? Should you be continuing on the straw hierarchy until there is efficient tongue retraction when drinking from an open cup? I would appreciate some guidance.

 

Best wishes,

 

Melissa

Hi Melissa, 

I would continue on the next straw if she is drinking at ease with tongue retraction as you said. I would want to use the straws for all drinking attempts and minimize the use of the cup. I would work on activities that promote tongue retraction before working on the cup. This will reinforce the motor plan.  I would then make sure to place the cup under her tongue and prevent her from using her tongue as her lower lip.  If this is not working you may want to remove the cup for a short time and work only with the straw and then revisit the cup.  Giving the child a break and only reinforcing the tongue retraction may help.

It is possible for a child to continue demonstrating tongue protrusion with cup drinking after the straw protocol but I would consider that atypical.

Keep me posted and let me know if you have any other questions.

Thanks,

Elizabeth Smithson, MSP, CCC-SLP

 

Elizabeth Smithson, MSP, CCC-SLP is a Speech-Language Pathologist who has over 10 years of professional experience working with infants, children, adolescents and adults. She earned her Master of Speech Pathology at the University of South Carolina. Liz is also a Level 5 TalkTools® Trained Therapist. She has received specialized training in Oral Placement Therapy, Speech, Feeding, Apraxia, Sensory Processing Disorders, and PROMPT©. Liz works with clients with a wide range of disabilities including Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome, and Spinal Muscular Atrophy.  She works through her own private practice Elizabeth Smithson Therapy, LLC in the home setting and in the TalkTools® office in Charleston, SC.

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Ask a Therapist: Tongue Tip Lateralization & Elevation Tools

Posted by Deborah Grauzam on

Hi, I am interested trialing your tongue tip elevation/lateralization tools with my client, a child with Down syndrome who has significant difficulties with tongue tip separation and production of tongue tip sounds t, d, s, n. 

Can you please tell me where tongue tip lateralization is part of the normal speech pattern and why this is recommended prior to elevation. Can you also direct me to any research supporting the use of this tool as although I feel that this would be beneficial for this child I need some evidence that I am working in line with best practice.

 

Many thanks for your time and support.

 

Sarah

Dear Sarah-
Normal tongue development starts as 50/50 protrusion/retraction. Towards 4 to 6 months the development occurs where the tongue starts being more retracted in anticipation of spoon feeding. Then lateralization occurs in anticipation of solids and the tongue retraction with tip dissociation is stronger. Over time by 24 - 36 months tongue tip elevation for the swallow develops. This sequence occurs simultaneously with the development of speech sounds. As we know in Down syndrome there are many delays and deviations of this pattern.
So to answer your question.....Tongue tip elevation will not occur without retraction and elevation. You have not mentioned the age of your child or feeding skills. So I am not sure if these tools would be a start place as our hierarchies have prerequisites, such as bite block 5.
As for evidenced based practice for this tool, please refer to the blog I wrote on Down syndrome: "Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders in Individuals with a Diagnosis of Down Syndrome."
Also, there's a lot of references and info in these books:
They will give you the normal development of tongue movements with references as well as justification for why you need to work on certain skills. If you need more let me know.
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Ask A Therapist: Tongue Tip Elevation in Moebius syndrome

Posted by Deborah Grauzam on

When people need help with therapy or products, we put TalkTools® Instructors to work and then publish the exchange for anyone in the same situation to get help, too. This question is from Danielle, by Facebook message.

Hello,

I was wondering if you could possibly help me. My six-year-old son has Moebius syndrome and recently had facial reanimation surgery. We have been doing TalkTools therapy for years and love it. We do a lot, from the Z-Vibe to Chewy Tubes to the horns! We have him try to follow the Z-Vibe with his tongue, but I can’t get his tongue to lift up. My question is: how can I help my son improve tongue movement? He has twelfth cranial nerve palsy, and his tongue has become so much stronger with therapy, but tongue tip elevation is still so hard for us. Any tips? Thanks so much for your help.

Danielle

Hi Danielle,

Here are some questions that may help us think about why he may be having difficulty. When we are looking for tongue tip elevation we need to know first if he has jaw stability, tongue retraction and tongue tip lateralization skills first; these are prerequisite movements we look for. If you are unsure of any of the terminology let me know!

1. Does your son get any lateral movement? If so is he getting lateral movement to both sides? What activities do you see this movement in?

2. Can he chew on his back molars and hold the food there? Do you see his tongue move toward the food as he chews? Does this look easy for him?

3. Can he drink from a straw with tongue retraction? (Or does he protrude his tongue forward)

4. Have you done the Jaw Grading Bite Blocks so we know that he has adequate jaw stability as well?

If you’d like to send a quick video clip doing some stimulation of his tongue I may be able to see something.

All questions that may help us get a “why” answer and maybe a plan! Also, if you haven’t already, you should read this article by Sara Rosenfeld-Johnson about Moebius Syndrome. I look forward to hearing from you and helping any way I can!

Renee Roy Hill, MS, CCC-SLP

Thank you so much for replying, I appreciate it more than you know. My son does have some lateral movement, but it is limited. He uses his fingers so much to move his food to his back molars and has always been a messy eater. When he drinks from a straw his tongue protrudes forward as well. Thank you for taking the time to help us.

Danielle

He still needs help with tongue retraction and lateral movement before working on elevation. He is not yet ready to work on elevation. Good luck with everything and let us know if you still need our help! 

Renee Roy Hill, MS, CCC-SLP

Renee Roy Hill, MS, CCC-SLP has provided therapeutic assessments and program planning for adults and children with oral placement, feeding and motor speech deficits for over 17 years. She is the owner of Crossroads Therapy Clinic in New Braunfels, TX and a member of the TalkTools® speakers bureau. Renee has been an invited speaker for ASHA state conventions and has received specialized training in speech/oral-motor/feeding therapy, Apraxia, sensory processing disorders, Hanen Courses, NDT training, TAMO therapy and PROMPT. She is the creator of the TalkTools® Schedule Board Kit, co-author of Ice Sticks, and author of the TalkTools® Apraxia Program.

Meet her!

  • February 10-11, 2017 in Pasadena, CA
  • February 23-25, 2017 in Austin, TX
  • March 3-4, 2017 in Mobile, AL
  • March 18-24, 2017 in the Caribbean
  • April 7, 2017 in Charlotte, NC
  • April 28-29, 2017 in New Orleans, LA
  • March 6-7, 2017 in Springfield, VA

For more details, visit TalkTools Event Calendar

 

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Ask A Therapist: Tips for Implementing the Horn Hierarchy

Posted by Deborah Grauzam on

Hello Talktools,

 

I'm a pediatric SLP with a clinical question for your experts. I attended the Three-Part Treatment Plan for Oral Placement Therapy (OPT) workshop last year. I have a little guy (3;4) who presents with low tone, has a breathy voice and speaks in short bursts.

 

I recently introduced the Horn Program, hoping that we could use it to improve his abdominal grading and breath support. However, we are having some problems with compensatory movements, and I'm having trouble remembering from the workshop what we are supposed to do about that!

 

When I hold up the horn, he leans, opens his mouth wide and reaches for it with his arms. If I can get him to sit back in the chair as I bring the horn to him, he inevitably opens his mouth wide. He also bites the horn for stability, and if I can get him to close his mouth as I present the horn, he grabs my shoulder for support.

 

I feel we need to back up, but I'm not sure where to go! Would one of the TalkTools® Instructors be able to help me with this? Do these sound like things his OT should work on? Are there some other activities you might recommend as a prerequisite for success with Horn #1?

 

Thank you in advance for any guidance on this issue.

 

Sincerely,

 

Kim

 

Hi Kim,

This is a common problem when starting with a client, especially if he is just beginning an OPT program, has overall low tone and also has jaw instability and difficulty with lip-jaw dissociation. The aforementioned are all good reasons to use the TalkTools Horn Hierarchy. Following are some things to remember about using the Horn Program that may be helpful.

1. Consider your seating - Is he well supported with his head, pelvis, knees and ankles at 90 degrees? Does he have a place to rest his hands, head and feet? These are important to think about initially, remembering that what happens in the body often is seen in the mouth. If you do not have access to good support from a chair, try lying him down on the floor (I like a wedge if possible, but if you are working in a home you may only have access to a pillow). Gravity can help him with stabilizing the body, and if he’s not working against his own lack of support through his core muscles, you may get a better start.

2. It is absolutely OK to provide jaw support when starting out. If you remember, you can also progress forward through Horn #1 and #2, even if you are still needing to give him support. Jaw support can help and is crucial in eliminating a few of the problems you are reporting: Moving forward (you are providing stability at the lowest level of oral function and often need good support to start. Think about getting his body and jaw positioned first with your support and THEN present the horn. Doing both at once often leads to habitual compensatory movements), controlling the opening of the jaw (increase your support as needed until he opens just wide enough - if he still has difficulty, think about where you are in his Jaw Program. If you are just beginning and he has poor jaw control, this may not be something you can completely control just yet, working on a jaw program simultaneously- the TalkTools® Bite Tube Set and/or the TalkTools® Jaw Grading Bite Blocks will help! You may also want to consider supporting him from behind if his chair seems to be supporting him OK at the hips, knees and feet but he has nowhere for his hands or head to stabilize. In this case, you would use your body as the support from behind while wrapping your hand around the head to support the jaw. This can also eliminate some of the leaning forward you may see, especially if he is seeking stability/sensory input.

3. If you continue to struggle, consider backing up and working with Step B of the Bubble Blowing Program to teach him to control airflow; this is where you blow the bubble and catch it on the wand, having him use a voiceless “ha” to teach him to isolate the abdominals. This would take out the focus of lip closure and jaw stability for now, while teaching him to access volitional air with control. I’d also really consider your jaw program, and see if several sessions of jaw input might help you gain a little more control over his oral function.

All great questions and I hope these suggestions help you find a starting point. Of course if it leads to more questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us again!

Sincerely,

Renee Roy Hill, MS, CCC-SLP

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Ask A Therapist: Feeding Therapy for a Medically Fragile Client

Posted by Deborah Grauzam on

Hello Talktools,

 

First of all, I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed Lori Overland's conference on Feeding Therapy: A Sensory Motor Approach in Savannah! I learned so much and have been able to apply the new (to me) strategies with many of my clients.

 

I have a question for Lori about a challenging client. My overall question is: how long after a frenectomy can we begin working on oral-motor therapy?

 

The client is medically fragile. He has 1/3 of his brain (brain stem, parts of occipital, visual cortex is present). He also suffers from CP and diabetes insipidus among other things. He is adopted, and his parents are EXTREMELY dedicated.

 

He is surprising us all with what he is able to do so far. He will be one year old in a couple of weeks, but he presents like a 3-4 month old right now.

 

He is able to consume liquids with a bottle, but his tongue tie is preventing him from being able to efficiently nurse, and he is gagging on pureed solids. His tongue tie is being corrected by an ENT surgeon this week. However, his mother is concerned because the doctor indicated the "easiest" thing to do would be to put in a peg tube.

 

While this baby is medically fragile, he is making progress in all developmental domains. His mother is realistic about him potentially needing a tube, but wants to make sure he truly has the opportunities to reach his maximum potential.

 

Any suggestions or insights would be welcome! He is very complex, and I know that without your class, I may not have been as prepared for him!

 

Thank YOU!

 

Amy

 

Hi Amy,

Thank you for taking the time to tell me how much you enjoyed the course!

You should be able to begin working on oral-motor therapy with your client within a few days after his frenectomy, but I usually do a two week follow-up, so I can see what the spontaneous results of the surgery will be vs. the impact of the therapy.

It is EXCELLENT to hear that he is surprising you with his abilities and how dedicated his mother is. Reach for the stars, it is nice to be surprised!

In regards to the tongue tie, releasing the tongue will not be a miracle for this little guy, but it will allow you to work on the oral sensory motor skills he needs for feeding. Even if at some point he does need a tube for adequate nutrition, it would be nice for him to do some safe recreational feeding. So...a week to two post-op, start to work on the lateral borders of the tongue, tongue blade stability, and tongue retraction.

I AGREE completely with making sure he has the opportunity to reach his maximum potential!

Good luck and feel free to check in with me if I can help!

Lori Overland, MS, CCC-SLP, C/NDT

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