Ask A Therapist: Child with a small mouth

Posted by Deborah Grauzam on

Hi TalkTools,

I am working with a child with a very small mouth, and the Yellow Chewy Tube is still too big and too hard for him. What would you recommend I use with him instead until he can use that? Thanks.



Hi Jennifer,

I received your question regarding your patient with the very small mouth. There are two things that I would try. You could do the gum chewing exercise that is explained in detail in Sara Rosenfeld-Johnson's book Assessment and Treatment of the Jaw, page 115.  I would just use a small enough piece of gum to fit in your client's mouth.  I would also try to work on the Sensory Friendly Bite Blocks (Purple) and gradually work up from the smallest and see if this would eventually increase the oral range of motion for your client. I would then revisit the chewy tube and see if he is able after working on the other exercises.  I hope these ideas help.  Please let us know if you have any other questions.




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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  • A lot of kids find the red chewy easier than the yellow chewy. It’s funny how the chewies seem too big and slip around at first…until the child’s skills improve. Then they are chomping away, making the popping noise with both tubes! Suddenly neither tube seems too big after all.

    Another Jennifer on
  • I have a similar difficulty with a 2 yrs. boy. He has low tone and cerebral palsy also seems to not understand directions. The Yellow tube is too hard and too big for his mouth. I tried to insert my gloved finger to stimulate the jaw movement since his molars have not been erupted yet. I’ll try the sensory bite blocks with him to see if it works better than the tube.

    Myriam on

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