Tagged "Chewy Tubes"


Ask a Therapist: Jaw Instability and Parent "Homework"?

Posted by Deborah Grauzam on

Hi TalkTools,

 

I recently completed the self-study course "A Three Part Plan for Oral Placement Therapy." Really enjoyed the course and hoping to use the knowledge with patients. I have 2 questions to start:

 

1) I see that the jaw assessment is done with bite blocks and then the bite blocks are used for therapy as well, if jaw instability exists. I am confused as to when the bite tube hierarchy is used. I see that the bite tube hierarchy (hierarchy for strength and compression) is used for ages birth to 3, but I believe bite tubes can be used for adults as well. So, when do you recommend the use of bite blocks versus bite tubes?

We do use the Bite Tube Hierarchy for the birth to 3 population. Not only is this hierarchy developing jaw grading (the up and down jaw movement we are looking for in speech), it also facilitates the chewing movement we need for feeding. Since it does not require the same cognitive skills that the TalkTools Jaw Grading Bite Blocks requires for teaching bite and hold, our young clients can do this activity. You are correct that we can use this tool at any age both for feeding, if we are working on teaching chewing skills or for speech, or if we want to reinforce the jaw grading necessary for syllables.

The Bite Blocks have been one of our best tools for developing jaw grading (because it isolates the jaw in multiple positions and works to increase skill at the position) as well as teaching a client the motor plan for the specific positions needed for speech. We often use them in conjunction with the Bite Tube Hierarchy because each gives the client a different sensory-motor experience, working both in movement and in isolation. So it is not always an either/or choice. If appropriate, I always assess in both hierarchies, analyze the results and then determine my goals. If both tools can provide input and skill the client is missing, I may do both with a client.

2) Sara says on DVD that parents need to do homework 3x per week and that if parent is only going to do it 2x per week, child is not likely to progress. The homework manual mentions that if parents don't return the folder, homework will not be sent home and child will progress at slower rate. I see patients once weekly. If parents don't wish to be involved in homework, can the child progress? What has your experience been with this?

This can be tricky as we as therapists try to make decisions on the best therapies to use. Sara is referring to the literature stated in exercise physiology. If a muscle is not worked regularly then we cannot change the function of the muscle. In our experience we've seen this and often with children who have special needs and sensory-motor based speech and feeding deficits more frequent exercise is necessary to change muscle function. If a family is not involved and working at home, you are more than likely not going to see changes in their muscle function.

Remember that this program as a whole allows multiple opportunities to practice the same functions. For example, we may target jaw grading through the TalkTools Bite Tube Hierarchy, TalkTools Jaw Grading Bite Blocks, chewing solids on the back molars, gum chewing or the slow feed technique. I might be able to encourage a family to practice gum chewing and chewing on the back molars at meals 2-3X during the week while I focus on the Bite Blocks and Bite Tubes in therapy. Even though we are performing different activities we are targeting the same muscles and therefore they are getting practice throughout the week. Although the ideal is always that the client practices daily in all areas of the desired home program, in reality we know this may be difficult. The best way to determine if the therapy is making a change in function is to take good data. If you are seeing progress, you are more than likely on track! If I don't see progress over a months time, my tendency is to look at why and change my approach or my goals.

My experience has been that if I can give a family just one activity to work on, then point out the successes we see in that technique, I can often get them on board for supporting this program. The most important piece of information parents need is understanding what it is they are doing, why they are doing that activity, and how it is going to impact their goals. I have to question why a family is seeking speech and language services if they do not want to participate in assisting me in working toward their goals. The more I can reinforce their successes, however small, the more involved they may become! I hope this helps!

Renee Roy Hill, MS, CCC-SLP

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Ask a Therapist: OPT with Adult suffering from MSA

Posted by Deborah Grauzam on

Adult Speech Therapy

Hi!

I am a trained speech-language pathologist, working in Sweden. I have taken part of the video-based course in the OPT-method and have very positive experiences from using the program with my former clients in a children’s rehabilitation center.

Now I work with elderly patients, primarily suffering from stroke but also with a wide spectra of neurological diseases.

This week, I met with a patient suffering from syndrome MSA, earlier misdiagnosed as Parkinson's. My colleague have worked with his dysarthria inspired by the Lee Silverman-method, which had a mildly effect on his difficulties with controlling the airflow. I proposed that we should try the instruments from OPT as a complement which the patient felt very positive about.

Though the patient recently started to experience difficulties with chewing food I wonder if it would be appropriate to work with the bite-tubes? We are all aware that his condition will continue to progress and that he most likely will suffer from dysphagia, not far from now. What are your thoughts about training when the patient have a progressive disease?

Best regards

Hi, Your email was referred to me for a response as I have been using OPT with adults for many years and have seen significant progress in both stagnate conditions and degenerative conditions such as MSA.  I am so pleased you see the benefits of this work and encourage you to continue to implement the techniques with your adult clients.

As a matter of fact I have just completed my newest book on using OPT with adults and am hoping it will be available for purchase within the next 6 months.    
In the case of a degenerative disease the hierarchy of intervention would remain the same as would the criteria for success to progress to the next level in each activity.  The major change is that your goal will be to maintain function rather than to improve function.  That is not to say in the initial phase of the disease the client will not progress but as the disease progresses the gain will become first minimal, then only maintaining and finally reducing.  
 
As you are working with these clients be aware of their fatigue and do not push them higher than their highest level before failure in each activity during the therapy session or for daily practice.  
 
You mentioned you are using the Bite-Tubes and that is wonderful.  I would also suggest the Horn Blowing Hierarchy and the Straw Drinking Hierarchy if the client is approved for thin liquids such as water or juice.  You can begin the Straw Hierarchy with liquids and if the client develops a pharyngeal phase dysphagia you can continue to use the Straw Hierarchy without liquid.  Instead use twenty 1 inch cubes of paper.  Have the client use the designated straw to pick up the piece of paper, to hold it for 10 seconds and then to rotate the head to drop the paper.  Remember to rotate to alternating sides of the body to ensure symmetrical muscle involvement. This technique has proven to be very beneficial for clients as a maintenance activity as the disease progresses.  
 
I hope this has answered your question but if not please feel free to email me.  
 
PS:  I loved my time in Sweden and hope to return there some day to teach and visit with friends.       
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Ask a Therapist: Sensory Processing assistance with a client that has Down syndrome

Posted by Deborah Grauzam on

Hi Lori,
 
I am a speech pathologist working with Toddlers. A few years ago I attended your conference on feeding therapy. I haven’t had to use a lot of the techniques up until now, so I am a little rusty.  I currently have a little guy with Down syndrome who is not chewing a great deal. His mom told me that at home she is noticing a great deal of gagging and sometimes vomiting because of this. We have been trying different textures; however, nothing seems to be working. He is also pretty resistant to chewy tubes and allows them in his mouth for only a short time. He either lets go or will bite down and not let go. I have been looking at the chewing hierarchy, but tools are listed (e.g., z-vibe, etc.) that I can’t remember exactly what I am supposed to do with. Do you have any suggestions on how to target this or where to start? Thank you so much for your help. I appreciate it!
 

Hello and thank you for the questions.

As often occurs, I have a bunch of questions to start.

Does this little one have other sensory issues?  Is there an OT who specializes in sensory processing involved?  Have you made observations about what this little one is doing with his lips, cheeks and tongue (for purees, and for solids).

I would assume (based on the diagnosis) that you should probably be working on cheek mobility and bilabial closure for spoon, cup etc.  If a protrusion/retraction is the primary tongue movement, work on tongue lateralization.  Does the child tolerate vibration?  If so, use the vibe fine tip for the lateral tongue massage.  Try the vibe bite and chew XL head (looks like a yellow chewy tube) if he will not tolerate chewy tubes.  You may want to go outside the box and roll the tool from the lateral incisor to the first molar if this child does not like the tool on the molar ridge. By the way, I have just written a book which should be out in June if you need a review of the class (and updated exercises!!!!).

Best,

Lori Overland

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Ask A Therapist: Dystonic Cerebral Palsy Extension Patterns and Jaw Weakness

Posted by Deborah Grauzam on

Hi there,

I have just assessed an absolutely delightful little four year old boy with a diagnosis of Dystonic Cerebral Palsy. All four limbs are affected but the weakness is more apparent on the right side. My assessment has shown that he presented with significant jaw weakness and instability, he begins to jaw jut and slide after three seconds of trying a natural bite. In addition he has not sufficiently dissociated jaw, lips and tongue muscles. He has weak core muscles and very weak airflow when he speaks. Articulation is mainly open vowels with the occasional gutteral k/g and b produced with the upper teeth on the lower lip.

My main question has to do with his significant extension patterns. Whenever I presented food or a tool to the right side of his mouth it resulted in a huge neck extension round to the right with the left arm extending backwards. He needed his dad to consistently hold his head in midline. When I worked at midline e.g. frontal spoon feeding, horns and bubbles the extensor pattern to the right was still present but not as significant.

I am concerned that by working more on the right side (as I need to do because of his more significant muscle weakness on the right side) this will encourage further extensor patterns. Does anyone have experience of how to deal with this and suggestions on how to effectively work on his right side? I wondered if doing bilateral placement for bite blocks and chewy tubes would be advisable? Many thanks!

Hi and thank you for the question. In commenting, I would like to start with a question.  Is your client working with a PT and if so are they working on the rotation in his trunk?  You may want to work on airflow in rotation if you can cotreat.  One comment that many hear in my course is that "What you see in the body is what you get in the mouth" and this is particularly applicable to your comment about the upper teeth on the lower lip.

For your main question: Is your client in a well supported position when this occurs?  Also, does he have extensor patterns in his upper and lower extremities with any movement? You can also try working from behind (you are actually hip to hip with your upper arm keeping his head in neutral flexion and your fingers providing jaw/lower lip support) using a "v" finger position to support his jaw/lower lip. This will allow you to keep his head in neutral flexion vs extension. I would place a mirror in front of him so he can see himself ...and you.

For your next question: You answered your own question.  I think you should go outside the box and try to present the chewy tubes bilaterally.  I would work on symmetry first and then you may be able to alternate bilateral and unilateral chewy tubes ...so you can work bilaterally and then alternate sides.  Eventually you may be able to do two times right to one time left.  I might do a chew tube program before I introduced the bite block program. I hope this helps and let me know.

Lori Overland

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Ask a Therapist: Tongue Placement

Posted by Deborah Grauzam on

Hi, I am hoping you can offer a suggestion.

I am an SLP and see a 2 YO child who began sucking on his tongue and had a forward tongue posture before I started seeing him. Once I started working with him I had the family switch to straws only and eliminated the sippy cup. They did that and he continued to have tongue sucking behaviors. Now, he has switched to twisting/turning his tongue around his mouth and it is interfering with his speech sound productions.

I tried to introduce vibration to provide sensory stimulation, but he does not tolerate that in his mouth. I also gave him a chewy tube as a substitution and he will tolerate it, but it is not eliminating the problem.

Do you have any product suggestions? I would greatly appreciate it. He has no drooling, no muscle weakness, and no feeding difficulties. I have never seen a child do this before.

Thank you in advance for any suggestions or product recommendations!

I have a few thoughts on this to help you:

1. Make sure there is not a structural or physiological problem, for example enlarged tonsils and adenoids. If the tongue must be displaced forward for breathing for example it could start these odd habits. Look for a tongue tie.

2. The sensory-motor systems cannot be separated. Though you say there are no feeding issues, I suspect there may be some breakdown in oral-motor development. Look carefully at developmental norms. This will soon be available in the feeding book Lori and I wrote, or you can look into taking Lori's feeding class if you have not already. If this child sucks his tongue at rest, there may be similar patterns on the straw.

3. Use of chewy tubes and sensory motor activities are most useful when you work from the outside of the mouth to the inside of the mouth and the therapy is led by the therapist. So I would not recommend handing the chewy tube to the child, but rather follow Lori's pre-feeding Chewing Hierarchy.

4. Finally, for the tongue sucking, I would recommend tasks that work on tongue retraction. The TalkTools Straw program and TalkTools Horn program, when executed by the directions on the tools kits would be excellent, as would TalkTools Bubble Kit. If you wanted to learn more, we have self-study courses for each of these kits!

Thanks for your interest in TalkTools!

Robyn Merkel-Walsh

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