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Debbie's Blog

Tongue Thrust Therapy

Question:  I am an SLP seeing a 8 year old student with a tongue thrust.  What products would be the best for addressing the tongue thrust?  How long does it usually take for them to affect a change in a child's lingual placement? . Great question.  For tongue thrust therapy, I use the protocol outlined in the book [...]

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DIY "Talk Back" Auditory Feedback Device

When working on articulation, I often find it best to begin the session with an auditory discrimination activity.  Not only does this help children better hear their own speech, but it also helps them settle into therapy and focus their attention. Auditory discrimination is the ability to tell the difference between correct and incorrect speech sounds.  Some [...]

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Tongue Tip Elevation Exercises

Tongue tip elevation is the ability to lift the tip of one's tongue up to the alveolar ridge (the spot just behind the upper front teeth).  As a shorthand, we often call this location "on spot," as in, "get your tongue tip on spot!" Tongue tip elevation is an oral motor skill necessary to say certain speech [...]

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75+ Feeding Therapy Tips & Strategies

For any therapist seeking to specialize in feeding, the best piece of advice I could give you is to become a sponge.  Take courses and workshops, read as many articles as you can, talk to and learn from your colleagues, join special interest groups on Facebook and ASHA etc., follow blogs, observe other therapy sessions, [...]

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SPD at the Dentist's Office

Question:  Hi, I am a dental hygienist looking for ideas on treating patients with SPD in the dental setting.  Can you give me some suggestions?  Thank you! .  If the patient has sensory issues in the mouth, then they may require a lot of desensitizing before they could even go to a dentist and/or tolerate anything in their mouth. [...]

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Straw Drinking Prerequisite - Tongue & Jaw Dissociation

Question:  I'm working with a client who has Down syndrome.  She can't differentiate her tongue from her bottom lip when drinking from a straw.  I've tried having her drink from a straw using a Lip block to see if that helps, but the tongue still just takes over everything.  Any ideas? . . I always recommend getting children on straws (ideally with [...]

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Lip Closure & Rounding Exercises

Lip closure (also known as lip seal) is the ability to close one's lips around a spoon, straw, cup, etc.  It's also important in order to say certain speech sounds, such as /p/b/m/, and it's a factor in preventing drooling. . . Recently I was working with a 9-year-old child who has Angelman syndrome.  The mother was asking if there was [...]

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The Oral Motor Benefits of Straws

Whenever a parent asks me what they can do to improve their child’s oral motor skills, one of my first questions is usually:  Are they drinking from straws yet? Drinking from a straw is a very simple yet effective way of improving one’s oral motor skills.  It works on lip seal, tongue retraction, cheek strength, correct [...]

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Do Chew Tools Increase the Need to Chew?

Question:  My son has ADHD and Anxiety, he spends a lot of time chewing/sucking on clothes, plastic, and other non- edible items. Would your chewies encourage this sensory seeking behavior or will it help him to eventually not need to mouth everything?   My son is 7 years old.  Thank you!  . . Great question.  Although each child [...]

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Isolating Back of Tongue Elevation for K, G, and Y

For the K, G, and Y sounds, the back of the tongue elevates to the palate.  One of my favorite "tricks" to assist back of tongue elevation is to use the Z-Vibe with the Hard Spoon Tip. . . Place the bowl of the Spoon Tip on the tip of the tongue, and then have the child say [...]

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