Ask a Therapist: Tongue Tip Lateralization & Elevation Tools

Posted by Deborah Grauzam on

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.

 

Sarah

Dear Sarah-
Normal tongue development starts as 50/50 protrusion/retraction. Towards 4 to 6 months the development occurs where the tongue starts being more retracted in anticipation of spoon feeding. Then lateralization occurs in anticipation of solids and the tongue retraction with tip dissociation is stronger. Over time by 24 - 36 months tongue tip elevation for the swallow develops. This sequence occurs simultaneously with the development of speech sounds. As we know in Down syndrome there are many delays and deviations of this pattern.
So to answer your question.....Tongue tip elevation will not occur without retraction and elevation. You have not mentioned the age of your child or feeding skills. So I am not sure if these tools would be a start place as our hierarchies have prerequisites, such as bite block 5.
As for evidenced based practice for this tool, please refer to the blog I wrote on Down syndrome: "Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders in Individuals with a Diagnosis of Down Syndrome."
Also, there's a lot of references and info in these books:
They will give you the normal development of tongue movements with references as well as justification for why you need to work on certain skills. If you need more let me know.
bite blocks Down syndrome EBP evidenced based practice Robyn Merkel-Walsh tongue elevation tongue lateralization tongue protrusion tongue retraction tongue tip tongue tip elevation tongue tip lateralization tongue tip tool tongue tip tools

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  • Can U Please Tell Me How I Can Obtain Some Information And Exercises On Jaw Stabilization?

    Cathy Esposito, MA CCC-SLP on

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