Tagged "TalkTools bite blocks"

Ask A Therapist: Open Mouth Posture

Posted by Deborah Grauzam on

Hi TalkTools,


I have purchased the Jaw Grading Bite Blocks to assist a client I have who has an open mouth posture most of the time and some significant difficulty with articulation and moderate amounts of drooling. Unfortunately I think I was premature in attempting the Bite Blocks assessment. I read through the book Oral Placement Therapy for Speech Clarity and Feeding thoroughly before beginning. He had a lot of difficulty attending to the specific directions I was giving. In addition, when he did bite down on the #2 block at the very beginning of the assessment, his jaw kept moving laterally. He doesn’t have a “natural bite”.


Could someone please advise me as to how I should proceed with this client?  I’m new to the TalkTools world and would appreciate an idea on where to start with this client.




Hi Karen,

I would advise that you work on the Bite Tube Set starting with the Red Bite Tube. This will work on your client's jaw strength and as you work through the bite tubes you can revisit the bite blocks. You would look to see if he is later able to achieve the "natural bite" and "bite hold" required with the bite blocks. Please let me 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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Ask a Therapist: Tongue Thrust

Posted by Deborah Grauzam on

I have been working with a 2, almost 3, year old patient for 10 months. He initially came to me with delayed speech -- one-syllable words with limited vocabulary and reduced intelligibility. He now uses 5-6 word sentences spontaneously, intelligibility has increased, he has added new speech sounds and errors are primarily /th/ and blends. We did a lot of oral strengthening as he was a drooler and that has improved. He had a very restricted lingual frenum, corrected in December. He also has an inferiorly attached upper labial frenum, which limits some range of motion in upper lip movement. My concern:   he continues to exhibit a suckle drinking pattern. We have introduced the straw program, but I can’t get past the first one because of the suckle. Is he too young? Should that improve with the increased range of motion now that he's had the lingual frenectomy? He is at a good point with language and articulation, so I was wondering if there is something I can do to make a difference?

Tongue thrusting should be fully remediated by 24 to 36 months, so suckling at this age is atypical. I would refer the patient to an oral surgeon or ENT to seek medical advice on the frenums. It sounds to me like there may be a structural issue.

Sara Rosenfeld-Johnson wrote an article titled, “Effective Exercises for a Short Frenum,” on how to stretch the frenum (sublingual) with the use of bite blocks which I would recommend you read. See if you can get the client to touch the upper back molar with the tongue tip. If not, you can try Sara's exercises. I do this often to prove that therapy alone may not work. Sometimes you can stretch it, but it depends on length, color and location.

Robyn Merkel-Walsh

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