Oral Motor Disorders in School Age Children

Oral-motor skills involve the movements of the lips, jaw, tongue and cheeks. These muscles are important for eating, drinking and speech.

Evaluation of oral motor skills should include assessment of jaw stability and strength, as well as coordination, strength and range of motion of the lips and tongue. If a school age child presents with reduced oral motor skills that are negatively affecting his/her function, treatment would be recommended. An example would be if a school age child is unable to elevate his/her tongue. This would make production of /l/ difficult, and therefore cause an articulation error. Treatment to facilitate the needed tongue movement would allow the school age child to acquire speech sounds appropriately.

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