Ask A Therapist: 24 Year-Old Male With Severe Stuttering

Posted by Deborah Grauzam on

I am a speech-language pathologist in private practice. One of my clients is a 24 year old male with severe stuttering. He also has a diagnosis of mild cerebral palsy. His most noticeable dysfluent behavior is the inability to initiate speech due to blocks at the vocal fold level. Do you think any of the Talk Tools would help? Thank you!

 

Jody

Hi Jody,

According ASHA, most treatment methods for stuttering are centered around behavior; however there are treatment protocols that focus on breathing. This is true of Dr. Martin Schwartz who wrote Stutter No More in 1991 about the "Passive Airflow Technique". For this method  stutterer is taught to 1. Release air 2. Slow down the first syllable and 3. Intent to rest between verbalizations.

Since the goal of Oral Placement Therapy is to provide tactile cues for speech sound production, we would consider OPT tasks that specifically target phonatory control and diaphragmatic breathing if the client was not using proper airflow to support speech. Phonatory tasks such as the horn kit, spirometer or bubble tube could be tools that would assist improved speech breathing; however we would also be certain that we were using more specific evidenced based therapy techniques for stuttering. These methods alone would not directly facilitate fluent speech but rather assist you in the pre-requisite skills needed to engage in airflow methods.

We would try blowing with horns or bubbles or encouraging airflow of any kind on his hand.  Once we felt like he was able to coordinate his breathing and blowing we would then move to humming or adding the "m" sound. We would work on this very gradually.  

Please keep us posted on how it goes and let us know if you have any other questions.

Thanks,

Robyn Merkel-Walsh, MA, CCC-SLP & Elizabeth Smithson, MSP, CCC-SLP
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Ask a Therapist: Significant Tongue Thrust Swallow Pattern and Tongue Protrusion

Posted by Deborah Grauzam on

Hello!

 

I have a 13 month old with Down syndrome who has a significant tongue thrust swallow pattern and tongue protrusion. Her tongue is ALWAYS out of her mouth, far. Almost as if she is intentionally pushing it all the way out. She retracts her tongue when I place a straw in the corner of her mouth, place a puff on her molar ridge (and will maintain tongue lateralization for a short period), and when I place the elephant jiggler in her mouth. As soon as she attempts to control the puff with her tongue or swallow, her tongue pushes forward again. I can prompt her to retract her tongue at rest but it comes right back out. What else can I do? I only get to see her one time per month at this point. Mom sits in on sessions and carries over at home. Pediatrician and ENT have no concerns about size of tonsils; I have not observed them myself yet.

 

Aubrie

 

Hi Aubrie,

It sounds like you have been working really hard with this patient to address the tongue retraction.  Everything you are already doing sounds great.  I would add bubble blowing, horn blowing and chewing on the back molars (with cubes of food if able, z-vibe and the bite tubes). All of this will encourage tongue retraction in the mouth. The more you can work on the retraction the better.  

I hope this helps.

Please let me know if you have any other questions.

Thanks,

Elizabeth J. Smithson, M.S.P., 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 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
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  • March 18-24, 2017 in the Caribbean
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For more details, visit TalkTools Event Calendar

 

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