What is OPT?
OP … what?
Oral Placement Therapy is a speech therapy which utilizes a combination of: (1) auditory stimulation, (2) visual stimulation and (3) tactile stimulation to the mouth to improve speech clarity.
OPT is an important addition to traditional speech treatment methods for clients with placement and movement deficits.
It is a tactile-proprioceptive teaching technique which accompanies traditional therapy. Traditional therapy is primarily auditory and visual.
Clients with motor and/or sensory impairments benefit from tactile and proprioceptive components because speech is a tactile-proprioceptive act.
OPT is used to improve articulator awareness, placement (dissociation, grading, and direction of movement), stability, and muscle memory; all of these are necessary for the development of speech clarity.
Which clients are concerned?
OPT can be used with clients of many ages and ability levels. It can be incorporated into program plans for many types of speech disorders (e.g., dysarthria, apraxia of speech voice disorders, fluency disorders and post CVA clients, as well as clients with mild-to-profound levels of hearing loss).
Many of the clients who require these techniques have often received traditional auditory and visually based speech facilitation for a number of years, with minimal success. No one is at fault for the client’s difficulty in learning to produce target speech sounds.
Traditional speech facilitation has not been effective with these clients because there may be a movement or placement disorder. So, before introducing any of the OPT techniques, the client’s motor functioning for speech and feeding should be thoroughly assessed.
How does it work?
OPT teaches oral structural placement to clients who cannot produce or imitate speech sounds using traditional auditory or visual input. For these clients, it is critical to expand speech sound production from phonemes and other similar oral movements the client can already produce.
Once a client can produce a targeted speech sound using traditional auditory or visual input, speech therapy can progress in a more typical manner.
OPT is only a small part of a comprehensive speech and language program and should not be done in isolation. The activities are carefully selected to stimulate the same movements used in the targeted speech production. They can be completed in under 15 minutes and can be used to refocus attention and concentration from a sensory processing perspective