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.
Tagged "tongue tip lateralization"
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.
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.
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!
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.
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 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.
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I have a question about using vibration (as with the DnZ-Vibe or Vibrator & Toothettes). I understand that vibration can be used to "wake up" the sensory system, and I believe I’ve heard that it can have a temporarily positive effect on low muscle tone. I’ve read that vibration should be used in short durations, but I was wondering if you had any guidelines for the maximum or minimum duration of vibration? I’m thinking especially in a case of low muscle tone as in children with Down Syndrome.
Thank you very much!
I’m Renee, a TalkTools® Instructor, and I would be happy to help you. This is an excellent question, I am asked this many times when teaching and working with clients!
You are correct, vibration can give the muscle more input and therefore often trigger a better motor response, thus “waking up” or “stimulating” the muscle to move. There are no specific “time” or duration guidelines for this. It is our responsibility as the therapist to look at the motor response while providing the input. So for some children with significantly low tone and an extremely under-responsive sensory system, it may take longer for the muscle to respond. But for a child who may have a better sensory system, the client may only need quick input 1-2x to see the motor response. It is important to remember what specific motor movement you are looking for and that the stimulation given is causing the appropriate reaction.
For example if I am providing stimulation to the lateral margin of the tongue to facilitate tongue tip lateralization to the back molars, once I see the movement, the vibration has done its job. Then I need to decide if my goal is repetitive movement using the vibration - leading me to possibly provide the input several times until I no longer see the tongue tip follow the stimulus - or possibly to quickly transition that movement to function (i.e. placing a cube of food on the back molar so the client then uses the movement in a functional way) which is my highest priority but sometimes not yet obtainable in my first sessions with the client.
Once I am sure of the goal of the vibration stimulation (what am I looking for in the motor system) it is easier to determine how long I should use it! The goal is always to eventually eliminate the vibration so that the movement is then stimulated through functional activities such as eating and speaking.
I hope this helps!
My friend Diane told me that you have been exploring alternate tongue positions for sibilants and recommended that I ask you the following question: Assuming there are no airway issues, how important is it to correct the resting posture of the tongue in order to enable correct production of sibilants?
I am working with a seven year-old boy with a perpetually low resting posture of his tongue. He keeps his lips closed at rest, but his tongue is quite lax while he speaks, and it affects his /s/ (frontal lisp), /r/ (vowelized), and /l/ (imprecise). We have done the straw program and he is capable of producing a good /s/, but I just have a concern that with his tongue lying around at the bottom of his mouth, he will not conquer the /s/ in his spontaneous speech. In discussing this with Di, she posited that you might have an opinion on my question.
I’d appreciate your thoughts when you get a chance.
I am so pleased Diane suggested you email me as she is correct, I have been very interested in tongue tip position for the standard production of /s/ and /z/.
It is important to teach the tip to elevate and depress in order to move fluidly within the oral cavity. Using the straw hierarchy will result in retraction but will not improve tip mobility. You may want to look at the tongue tip tools which teach lateralization of the tip and tongue tip elevation/depression.
Once a child has those skills he will be able to show you which position is right for him. Do you have a copy of my book Oral Placement Therapy for Speech Clarity and Feeding? In it I list the sequence of activities to ensure the oral skills are adequate to produce the /s/ and /z/ in addition to the other sounds you say this child is having trouble producing.
I hope this answers your question and have a nice day,