Innovating sensory tools from our family to yours since 2000. All made in the USA!

$5 shipping on all online US orders. Free shipping on US orders $99 or more*

$5 shipping on all US orders,
Free on US orders over $99

Debbie's Blog - videos

Tongue Tip Elevation Exercises

Posted

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 sounds (t, d, n, l, s, and z).  It's also where the tongue should rest during normal oral resting posture (when you're not eating or speaking).

.

Tongue Tip Elevation Exercises

.

For children who need help with this oral motor skill, start by explaining to them where "on spot" is.  Then prompt them to put their tongue tip "on spot."  Demonstrate by doing it yourself with exaggerated movement.  Use a puppet if needed.  For some kids that will do the trick.  Others may need a little more help figuring out exactly where their tongue needs to go.  There are several different ways you can provide assistance:

  .

•   Try putting a dab of peanut butter, nutella, yogurt, etc. "on spot" and have them lick it off for a tasty incentive.

•   Present the Tongue Tip tool and have the child place their tongue tip inside the hole.  Then guide it up and down to help establish the concept of elevating (or back and forth for lateralization).

•   Take a Probe or proPreefer and touch it to the alveolar ridge - this is a tactile cue to physically show them where their tongue tip needs to go.  Then remove the Probe from the mouth and instruct the child to touch the same spot with his/her tongue tip.  Followup with tongue tip sound production of /t/, /d/, /n/, /l/, /s/, or /z/.

.

Tongue Tip Elevation Exercises

Tongue Tip Elevation Exercises

.

If more sensory input is needed, do the last exercise with the Z-Vibe instead (as shown in the images above with the Fine Tip).  Vibration from the Z-Vibe helps bring focus and a new level of awareness to that specific spot.

The best Z-Vibe attachment for this exercise is the Fine Tip - it narrows down to a small point, so it's perfect for pinpointing a specific spot.  But you can also use the Probe or Preefer Tip instead.  For a visual, watch the second half of this video:

.

.

•   For a variation of the above exercise, put a cheerio on the end of the Fine Tip, touch the Fine Tip to the alveolar ridge, then have the child touch their tongue to the cheerio.  To increase the difficulty, have them hold the cheerio there after you exit the mouth.

•   Do tongue pops (one of my all-time favorite oral motor exercises).

.

As you try the exercises above, be sure to watch for tongue & jaw dissociation.  In other words, the tongue should be moving independently while the jaw stays put.   If the jaw is moving side to side or up and down, place a Probe, Grabber, or Y-Chew in between the molars to one side and have the child bite down while they practice tongue elevation.  This will stabilize the jaw and ensure that the tongue does its own work so to speak, without assistance from the jaw.  You may also need to do some jaw stability exercises.

For information on the first half of the video, click here.  And for more oral motor exercise ideas like the above, check out Tips & Techniques for the Z-Vibe.

.

All my best,

Debbie

.

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 [...]

Read More »

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 [...]

Read More »

The Right and Wrong Way to Spoon Feed

Did you know that there is a right and wrong way to spoon feed?  The wrong way involves lifting your hand upward as you remove the spoon from the child’s mouth.  This method scrapes the spoon against the teeth, gums, and/or upper lip to get food off of the spoon. . . Scraping is not the normal, natural [...]

Read More »

Assisting Lip Closure

Just like its namesake, lip closure (also known as lip seal) is the ability to close one's lips.  It's important for several different speech/feeding/oral motor skills: .  .  •  Being able to close one's lips around a straw, spoon, a piece of food, etc. •  Being able to pronounce the speech sounds /p/, /b/, and /m/ •  Being able to [...]

Read More »

Practicing a Rhythmic Chewing Pattern

Rhythmic chewing is one component of a mature chewing pattern.  There's a tempo to the way we chew - it's not sporadic;  we don't chew fast then slow then fast again.  We chew to a silent yet steady beat in order to properly break down food. . .  In the video below, however, this young man has a very sporadic chewing pattern.  In fact, [...]

Read More »

How to Develop a Rotary Chewing Pattern

I recently completed a Clinical Swallow Evaluation and today a Videofluoroscopic Swallow Study of a 10 yr old boy's swallow (both revealed a safe swallow that is within normal limits) and observed that his is not an age-appropriate chew pattern.  He engages in a Nonstereotypic Vertical Movement during mastication.  As a result, oral prep phase [...]

Read More »

Visualizing /sh/ as a Continuant in Speech Therapy

. .  This young man has conquered /ch/ both alone and in sentences. Since he can say /ch/, /sh/ is a breeze from here. So I had him say /ch/ in isolation, and then just prolong it. I told him to "hang on to the ch." For a visual and tactile activity to go with this, I had [...]

Read More »

How to "Turn Your Voice on" - Teaching the Difference between Voiced & Unvoiced Phonemes

Speech therapists have a variety of classifications / categories for speech sounds.  One such category is voiced versus unvoiced phonemes.  Voiced phonemes are sounds made when the vocal folds vibrate.  Unvoiced phonemes are sounds that do not require the vocal folds to vibrate.   . As an example, say "sss" and then "zzz," listen and feel the difference. [...]

Read More »

Using Gross Motor for Oral Motor - How Trunk Turning Exercises Can Improve Tongue Lateralization

Tongue lateralization is the ability to move the tongue side to side inside the mouth.  It's an important skill for feeding therapy and development, as the tongue lateralizes in order to manipulate food to be chewed and formed into a ball (or bolus) before swallowing.  It's also how we go "fishing" for leftover food particles [...]

Read More »

×
×