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ARK's Z-Vibe® Vibrating Oral Motor Tool (Royal Blue)

ARK's Z-Vibe® Vibrating Oral Motor Tool

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  • Product Description

    The all-in-one oral motor tool; **Click to see all 9 colors**|||ARK's Z-Vibe® is a vibratory oral motor tool that can help build oral tone and improve a variety of speech, feeding, and sensory skills. Use it to provide a varied sensory experience and/or to provide targeted tactile cues within the oral cavity. Its gentle vibration provides a new level of sensory stimulation to increase oral focus and draw more attention to the lips, tongue, cheeks, and jaw. Vibration can also be very calming, soothing, and organizing.

    The Z-Vibe®'s sleek, innovative design features a lightweight, plastic handpiece with gentle bumps around its circumference for a non-slip grip. This texture can also be brushed along the cheeks, arms, hands, etc. for additional tactile input. The handle comes with a blue Probe Tip on one end and a Switch Tip on the other. Use the Probe Tip for oral motor assessment and development. To turn the unit on, simply twist the Switch Tip at the opposite end of the handle just until the unit starts to vibrate (please do not over-tighten). 

    Designed with versatility in mind, there are over 35 tip attachments available in various sizes, textures, and resiliencies. From spoons to toothbrushes to pencils and more, the same handle can shift goals simply by switching out one tip for another.  View them all here.

    • usa-flag.jpg Made in the USA, medical grade, FDA compliant 
    • NO lead, phthalates, PVC, BPA, or latex
    • The Z-Vibe® is sold here with 1 Probe Tip and 1 Switch Tip, other tips sold separately.  Or, you can add an extra one at a discounted price (regularly $5.99) via the pull-down menu above.
    • Battery included (please note: this is a special Vibe Battery not sold in stores - we recommend buying a spare)
    • Measures approximately 6.5" in length and less than half of an inch in diameter
    • Recommended for individuals of all ages and abilities under the guidance of a therapist or a trained caregiver
    • The Z-Vibe is available in two different versions: plastic (all of the color options) or metal (aluminum).  The plastic options are sturdy, affordable, easy-to-clean, and colorfully kid-friendly.  The aluminum option has slightly more weight to it, and the metal is cool to the touch.

    triangle.jpeg Caution: the Z-Vibe is NOT a toy.  It is a therapeutic tool intended to be used by a professional therapist (or by parents trained by their therapist).  It contains small parts (including a battery) that may pose a choking hazard: direct adult supervision is required at all times.

    Why It Works

    Most of us are either visual or auditory learners. But when these two senses are not enough, you may need to physically direct the articulators for certain speech and feeding skills.  ARK's Z-Vibe® is an ideal tool to help you do so. Therapists (and trained caregivers) can use it to provide targeted tactile cues within the oral cavity to teach tongue elevation, tongue lateralization, lip closure, rotary chewing, and much more. For example, use the Z-Vibe® to apply gentle pressure to the alveolar ridge (just behind the upper front teeth). Then remove the Z-Vibe® and instruct the individual to touch the same spot with his/her tongue tip. You can also follow up by prompting the individual to say the tongue tip sounds /t/d/n/l/. 

    When just touching the lips, tongue, cheeks, etc. doesn’t provide enough input, simply turn the Z-Vibe® on. Its gentle vibration provides a new level of tactile awareness for additional sensory feedback, to help "wake up" the mouth, and to draw more acute attention to specific movements of the cheek, jaw, lips, and tongue.

    Please note that by no means does an individual have to use vibration to acquire skills for feeding and articulation.  Some people simply do not like vibration - and that's ok!  Even without vibration, the Z-Vibe® can still provide a vast range of sensory stimulation. 

     

    Benefits

    Increase Oral Awareness:
    The Z-Vibe is highly recommended for individuals with hyposensitivities and low oral tone. Its gentle vibration can help increase oral awareness and provide much needed proprioceptive input to the lips, cheeks, tongue, and jaw. For sensory-seekers who crave oral stimulation, massaging the gums with the Soft Brush Tip can be particularly helpful.

    Decrease Oral Sensitivities and Food/Texture Aversions:
    The Z-Vibe is also recommended for hypersensitive individuals. In these cases, vibration as well as the various textures/shapes of the tips can help gradually desensitize the mouth and decrease oral aversions and sensory defensiveness.

    Calm and Soothe:
    Vibration can be a very helpful tool for calming and organizing. The Z-Vibe's smooth vibration provides gentle sensory feedback to the lips, gums, tongue, jaw, and inside the cheek area. This oral input (under supervised use) can help decrease self-biting or chewing on one's hands, shirts, pencils, etc.  While it is mostly used inside the oral cavity, it can also be used outside the mouth on the cheeks, neck, and arms for additional feedback.

    Transition from Puréed to Textured Foods:
    The Textured Spoon Tips have a textured surface on the back side of the spoon. Use these tips with the Z-Vibe in order to gradually introduce new textures during feeding. Or, use the ears of the Animal Tips as spoons.  Allow the individual to mouth the tips and explore their various textures and shapes.

    Increase Interest in Therapy:
    Use the Z-Vibe with the friendly Animal Tips and/or the Popette Tip with a lollipop in order to spark attention and increase participation in therapy.

    Teach Biting and Chewing Skills:
    Use the Z-Vibe with Bite-n-Chew Tip to help develop and improve the oral motor skills necessary for feeding (such as a sustained bite, rhythmic chewing, jaw strength and stability, and more). This tip attachment is also available in an extra long (XL) version that can reach all the way to the back molar area.  As well as an extra long + textured option that has extra sensory bumps.  As another option, the Bite Tube Tip is essentially a hollow version of the Bite-n-Chew Tip - you can put puréed foods inside the tip for functional biting/chewing practice.  Because they're hollow and therefore easier to bite, the Bite Tube Tips are also recommended for individuals with a weak bite.

    Develop Oral Motor Skills:
    The Z-Vibe provides a safe and effective way to work on the oral motor skills necessary to make speech sounds and to manage food. These skills include: lip/cheek/tongue awareness, lip closure, lip extension, jaw stability and grading, tongue and jaw dissociation, tongue elevation, tongue retraction and protrusion, tongue lateralization, and a tongue bowl. Using the Z-Vibe, therapists and caregivers can target specific movements within the oral cavity - physically demonstrating where the tongue, lips, and jaw should be for each skill. For specific exercises on how to improve these goals, consult our blog and Tips & Techniques for the Z-Vibe® & Z-Grabber®.

    Improve Oral Hygiene:
    Use the Brush Tips for gentle gum massage and teeth cleaning and to transition individuals into the eventual use of a regular toothbrush. The Tongue Tip and Floss Tip can also be used for dental care with the Z-Vibe.

    Work on Writing Skills:
    When used with the PenPencil, or Crayon Tips, the Z-Vibe becomes the Tran-Quill™ Pen/Pencil/Crayon - an excellent tool for sensory motor needs. The vibration increases focus and attention while working on handwriting, homework, and other writing tasks, but does not affect the actual writing.

     

     

    Therapy Video

    Below is an example of how to use the Z-Vibe to work on tongue elevation and lateralization.  For more information on how to use the Z-Vibe, exercise ideas, and more, check out the Tips & Techniques for the Z-Vibe book and/or ARK University.

     

     

     

     

    FAQs

    Who manufactures the Z-Vibe®?
    We do! At ARK Therapeutic, you are buying directly from the manufacturer and designer of this tool.

    The Z-Vibe® is the brainchild of Debra C. Lowsky, MS, CCC-SLP and her husband John Lowsky, Jr., BS ME. Having worked with children and adults with speech and feeding disorders for over 35 years, Debbie fully understands the challenges that the special needs community faces every day. The Z-Vibe® was therefore designed with safety, durability, and versatility in mind.  To learn more about us, click click here.

    Are the materials safe?
    Yes!  ARK Therapeutic was founded with the desire to serve the special needs community with quality products to improve their quality of life. We are one of the only companies in the industry registered with the FDA, and our products are listed with the FDA and manufactured in the USA.  ARK products are also medical grade, FDA compliant, and contain NO lead, phthalates, PVC, BPA, or latex. 

    Why does it require a special battery?
    We had to modify the battery in order to be able to make the Z-Vibe in the USA at an affordable price point.  You are welcome to compare the Z-Vibe battery to regular quad energizers and make the adjustment yourself, but we can only guarantee that the ones we modify are done correctly.  

    Who can benefit from the Z-Vibe®?
    ARK's Z-Vibe® can benefit individuals of all ages and cognitive abilities, particularly those with an articulation disorder, feeding disorder, sensory issue, and/or oral motor difficulties. These difficulties may be seen in dividuals with, but not limited to, Down syndrome, Autism, Cerebral Palsy, SPD, etc. Caregivers should consult with your speech and/or occupational therapists to see if the Z-Vibe® can be incorporated into your loved one's therapeutic treatment plan.

    Is vibration right for everyone?
    Many individuals crave oral sensory input and welcome stimulation from the Z-Vibe®. However, each person has his or her own set of sensory preferences, likes, and dislikes, and so some may be less receptive to vibration than others. Vibration is very alerting, and it may take time to establish trust and acceptance. Start slowly and gradually introduce the device without vibration first. Then, turn it on and show it to the individual, allowing him or her to feel the vibration in the hands or on the arms, slowly working towards acceptance into the mouth. Remember, however, that the Z-Vibe® can always be used in the OFF position without vibration. Even without vibration, the Z-Vibe® can be used for oral motor stimulation and speech/feeding exercises.

    I am a parent/caregiver. Can I use the Z-Vibe® at home?
    Absolutely! It is very important for parents to follow through with recommended therapy techniques at home. On average, children see their speech therapists 1-2 times per week, but you see your child every day! Accelerate learning by working on your child's therapy homework every day, several times throughout the day. Ask your therapist to explain AND demonstrate the exercises and to give you tips for making progress at home. Detailed exercises on how to use the Z-Vibe can also be found in Tips & Techniques for the Z-Vibe® & Z-Grabber®.

    Can my child use the Z-Vibe® on his own?
    The Z-Vibe® is to be used by a therapist and/or parent.  If the child wants to hold the Z-Vibe him/herself, we recommend using hand-over-hand assistance.  As a medical device that contains small parts, it must be supervised at all times.

     

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ARK chew tools come in 3 color-coded toughness levels:

Usually we recommend going with the softest/standard level by default. Unless someone chews through or causes damage to anything else they chew on (chews through pencils, chews holes in shirts, etc.), in which case the XT level would be longer lasting.

If someone does chew through things, it’s possible they may need the toughest XXT level eventually. XXT is super firm, though, so we don't always recommend getting it right off the bat (some people find it uncomfortable chewing on something that firm).

So XXT is usually best either for people who have chewed through the XT level already, and/or for anyone who already likes chewing on very hard items - things like legos, hard plastic toys, wooden items, etc.

Heads up: Designs that are wider and "beefier" will feel tougher than designs that are more slender in the same toughness level. For example, the Dino-Bite in XT will feel tougher than the Krypto-Bite in XT.

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Probe Tip - This is the most versatile & popular tip attachment. It's bumpy on one side and striated on the other side for different levels of sensory input (the bumpy side provides more input than the striated side).

Mini Tip - This is a smaller version of the Probe Tip, designed for smaller mouths (about 2.5 years and under). This age recommendation is not a hard-and-fast rule though - we've seen younger kids use the Probe Tip and older individuals use the Mini Tip.

Preefer Tip - This tip attachment is rounded with ridges all along the circumference for when a "rolling" action is desired for a different kind of sensory input. Roll it over the lips, across the tongue, and inside the cheeks.

Fine Tip - This tip narrows down to a fine point, which makes it perfect for pinpointing very specific areas in the mouth.

Bite-n-Chew Tip - These tips are rounded and chewable, for practicing biting & chewing skills. The "extra long" versions are about an inch longer and a little skinnier, to make it easier to reach the back molars. The textured version has bumps for extra sensory input.

Bite Tube Tip - These tips are similar to the Bite-n-Chew Tip, but with a hollow center so that you can put puréed foods (applesauce, yogurt, etc.) inside the tip for functional biting & chewing practice. Once you bite down on the tip, you get 'rewarded' with a taste of food.

Spoon Tip - Great for feeding therapy and mealtimes, these attachments turn the Z-Vibe into a vibrating spoon! The smooth, gentle vibration can help "wake up" the mouth and decrease aversions. The textured version has bumps on the bottom of the spoon bowl to help stimulate the tongue and lower lip, and to help encourage the transition from puréed to more solid foods. The hard Spoon Tip is rigid, like a regular spoon. The soft Spoon Tip is flexible (still firm enough to hold food, but flexible enough to be gentle on the teeth if someone bites down on the spoon.

Tongue Tip - This tip can be used as a traditional tongue scraper to help establish good oral care. It can also be used to help establish the concept of tongue lateralization and elevation (hold the Tongue Tip vertically in front of the mouth and ask the individual to put the tip of their tongue inside the hole, then guide the tongue from side to side or up and down). You can also place the Tongue Tip flat on top of the tongue to provide input to a large surface area of the tongue (this tip has the largest "footprint" surface-area-wise).

Popette Tip - This tip attachment is an adaptor that lets you use lollipops with the Z-Vibe. Just twist the Popette Tip into the Z-Vibe handle, then press a lollipop into the Popette Tip. Lollipops are a fun way to get kids interested in sensory oral motor exercises.

Brush Tips - The soft version has gentle bristles for gum massage; the hard version has firmer bristles closer to that of a traditional toothbrush. These can be used to help get orally sensitive individuals more comfortable with oral care, so that they can eventually use regular toothbrushes, be more comfortable going to the dentist, etc.

Pencil - This attachment turns your Z-Vibe into a vibrating pencil! The vibration of the Z-Vibe is very smooth, so it doesn't create squiggly lines. Instead, it can help increase focus by providing more sensory input and awareness to the hand.

Pen - This attachment turns your Z-Vibe into a vibrating pen.

Crayon - And this attachment turns your Z-Vibe into a vibrating crayon.

Brick Tip - This tip attachment has large bumps on one side and small bumps on the other side for lots of varying sensory input while biting & chewing. It comes in 3 toughness levels for mild to moderate to avid chewing.

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