Oral Motor Therapy
Oral-motor techniques can be used in any of the following therapies: articulation, phonology, dysphagia, feeding, orofacial myology, and occupational or physical therapy.
In order to speak correctly, one must move the mouth (jaw, lips and tongue) in specific ways. Say, “Mmmm” and notice how your lips touch together. Now say, “Nnnn” and notice that your lips do not touch but that your tongue cleaves to the roof of your mouth. These two sounds (phonemes) are very similar. What makes them different is the way the mouth is positioned. Every speech sound is made with a specific prescription of jaw, lip and tongue position. The jaw can move up, down, left, right, forward, back and in rotation. The lips can pucker, round and retract. And the tongue can lift and lower its tip, sides, middle and back. It also can stretch forward and back for speech. Mature speech requires that the jaw, lips and tongue move maturely in all directions, and that they do so both independently and in coordination with one another. Literally, this is what oral-motor therapy is: the process of facilitating improved jaw, lip and tongue movements for speech. (