Tagged "Speech Therapy"

Hypersensitivity in the Mouth

Posted by Casey Roy on

Hi Heather! I have a 18 months baby girl. What do you recommend if my child seems to have hypersensitivity in her mouth?

-Elaine Ruiloba


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Yawning During Therapy

Posted by Casey Roy on

I have a kiddo who begins to yawn whenever we do oral placement exercises. The longer we do them, the more he yawns and longer duration they are. It doesn't take much work before he begins to yawn. If we take a break and begin again, he starts to yawn as soon as tools are presented. He presents with hyposensitivity and is very much an oral sensory seeker. Any idea what would be causing him to yawn?

~Carrie M.


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Ask A Therapist: Analyzing Jaw & Lip Movements

Posted by Casey Roy on


I hope I’m not bothering you, but I’m needing help. I have taken many OPT courses, most recently your tongue thrust course. Thank you, it was awesome!!

I have a little boy that I started seeing when he was 7. He presented with open mouth posture and breathing, frontal lisp on /t, d, l, s, z, ʃ, tʃ/. We worked for 10 months. We targeted resting position, went through the bubbles, bite blocks, gum chewing, tongue exercises, nose breathing...

Then they took a 9 month break and just came back for a “refresher” today. He is jutting his jaw to the right in speech (his bite is perfect when asked to smile) and his top lip has a lot of tension for /s/. Is the lip tension because of jaw instability? Would you go back to jaw work? I know this is a silly question, but still confuses me some: if he juts to the right, that indicates jaw instability on the right and we strengthen the right side, or is it the total opposite? Why is my mind playing tricks on me?!?!?!

He still needs to practice resting position and nose breathing. He is suffering with allergies now.  

What would you recommend? Thank you so much for your time.


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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!



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.


Robyn Merkel-Walsh, MA, CCC-SLP & Elizabeth Smithson, MSP, CCC-SLP
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Ask A Therapist: Horn blowing for a 3-year-old with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Posted by Deborah Grauzam on



I'm hoping for some advice. My 3 year old ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) son is doing TalkTools through our SLT. He couldn't blow at all to start with so we taught him using a water flute first, now he has gone onto Horn #1 but he can't make a sound. His neurotypical twin sister can't either so I'm wondering if his lungs are maybe too small to be able to use this horn? (He is small - more the size of a two year old.) Our SLT said just keep trying but I'm worried it will put him off blowing as he won't be getting any noise feedback like he did with the water flute.






Hi Claire,

I think I would continue working on the horn as your therapist recommended but I would also try using the Pre-Hierarchy Horn while bouncing on a therapy or yoga ball and providing abdominal pressure. This horn is extremely easy to blow and with the abdominal pressure and bouncing I feel you would be more likely to get a sound, which would be rewarding for your son. I do not think the lung size is the issue but that is not really a question I can answer.

Please let me know if you have any other questions.  

We are here and happy to help.




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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