Is your baby having trouble breastfeeding?

Have you or your child always had difficulty making certain sounds?

Does swallowing seem more difficult than it ought to be?

Have you noticed a tongue thrust when you or your child swallow?

Does your child breathe through their mouth chronically, instead of their nose?

If so, you or your child may be dealing with an orofacial myofunctional disorder.

Although the phrase may be new to you, orofacial myofunctional disorders are fairly common. These are disorders of the muscles and functions of your face and mouth.

We can help.

Here at Voz Speech Therapy, one of the speech therapy specialties we offer is treatment for orofacial myofunctional disorders.

Speech Therapy For Swallowing Issues

Although you may think of a speech therapist as someone who focuses on speech, we also help with swallowing disorders.

If you can swallow without issue, you might not even necessarily think about the process involved. But there’s quite a bit to it.

Swallowing involves three phases:

  • The oral phase, which involves chewing and moving food toward your throat
  • The pharyngeal phase, the reflexive and involuntary process of sealing the airway so food can safely travel down your throat
  • The esophageal phase, where you open and close the tube (esophagus) connecting your mouth with your stomach

Although it happens in seconds, a lot can go wrong in swallowing.

If you have a child with a swallowing disorder, it may be difficult to tell at first. But some of the symptoms include:

Crying or fussiness while eating

Reluctance to eat

Difficulty breathing while eating

Unusually fussy eating habits

Falling asleep while feeding

Deafening their body while eating

Difficulty with breastfeeding

Throws up often

Drooling a lot

Liquid coming out of their nose while feeding

Not gaining weight

Not meeting developmental milestones

Taking a long time to eat

It should come as no surprise that eating is important for overall health. So if your child has a swallowing disorder, it can severely impact their health.

A speech therapist can help.

We will work with your child to understand the root cause of their swallowing disorder and provide a treatment plan designed to help your child eat their fill without fuss.

Adults can struggle with swallowing disorders as well, so our speech therapists for adults are also trained in swallowing disorders.

Book your appointment today with Voz Speech Therapy to find out more.

Speech Therapy For Ankyloglossia (Tongue Tie)

Ankyloglossia might sound like the name of a dinosaur, but it’s anything but.

In between the bottom of your tongue and the bottom of your mouth is a small band of tissue called the lingual frenulum. It connects your tongue and the bottom of your mouth and helps to stabilize it. It also allows for your tongue to properly move in order to do what it needs to do for you to eat, speak, and breathe.

With ankyloglossia, your child’s lingual frenulum is too short, which restricts their ability to move their tongue. This can also present as a lip-tie, which is when the tissue inside your upper lip that attaches to your gums is too short. This can cause a variety of issues with feeding and breathing, as well as speaking.

The signs of ankyloglossia, both in tongue and lip, include:

  • Difficulty latching while breastfeeding
  • Gasps, clicks, or choking while breastfeeding or when transitioning to solids
  • Snoring and/or drooling while sleeping
  • Difficulty making certain sounds, like d, l, n, s, t, th, r, or z
  • A gap between the front bottom teeth or front top teeth
  • Difficulty sticking out their tongue
  • Difficulty moving their tongue around inside their mouth
  • A notch, dimple, or heart shape at the tip of their tongue
  • Chronic, open-mouth breathing

The best treatment for tongue tie is a frenectomy, where the tie is released. This should be done by a trained medical provider, such as an ENT, pediatric dentist, or pediatrician. If our team at Voz Speech Therapy decides that a frenectomy is necessary, we have a wonderful list of referral partners that can take care of this.

However, it’s a good idea to see a speech therapist for children before and afterward, to be sure your child does in fact have a tongue or lip tie that is affecting their swallowing, breathing, or speaking.

Book your appointment today with Voz Speech Therapy to find out more.

Speech Therapy For Chronic Thumb Sucking

Most babies will suck their thumbs. It’s instinctual. However, by the time they reach about 6 months old, they usually start decreasing the amount of thumb sucking and they do.

If they don’t, it can lead to a number of complications, including poor dental health, abnormal jaw development, and speech issues.

If your child is older than 6 months and seems to be sucking their thumb even more than they did, we can help. Using the Thumbs Up! protocol, we can help your child break their thumb-sucking habits.

To find out more about the Thumbs Up! program and how it works, visit our page on speech therapy treatments for chronic thumb sucking.

Speech Therapy For Prolonged Pacifier & Bottle Use

Babies love their pacifiers. It’s hard to argue against their soothing benefits. However, if your child doesn’t begin weaning from their pacifier around one year of age, it can affect their speech development.

First of all, it acts like a plug for their mouth, restricting the amount of time they have to practice making sounds and forming words. If this continues, your child may end up with speech muscles that are not as developed as they would be, which can lead to articulation disorders.

Much like chronic thumb sucking as well, it can affect the way your child’s jaw and teeth develop, which can create issues with distorted speech, breathing, and swallowing.

As well, research shows that prolonged pacifier use can actually increase the frequency of ear infections, which can affect your child’s speech development as well.

In most cases, parents have no issue with weaning their child off of using a pacifier. However, if your child is having trouble giving up binky, we can help.

Book your appointment today with Voz Speech Therapy to find out more.

Speech Therapy For Chronic Open Mouth Positioning & Breathing

Oral resting posture refers to what your mouth is doing when it’s not doing anything else. You probably don’t think about it much unless somebody brings it to your attention, but it can cause longer-term issues.

When you have proper oral resting posture, you’re doing the following things:

  • Your mouth is closed
  • Your lips are closed
  • Your teeth are touching or just slightly apart
  • Your tongue is resting against the roof of your mouth
  • You’re breathing through your nose

On the other hand, if your child is doing any of the following, they may be struggling with their oral resting posture:

  • Their face is long and narrow
  • They have trouble fully closing their lips
  • They mostly breathe through their mouth
  • Their jaw is shifted over to one side
  • Their tongue is protruded forward
  • They snore or drool frequently
  • They have  chronic allergies (e.g. stuffy nose, cough, etc.)

What causes this? In some cases, it can come from prolonged pacifier use or thumb sucking. It could also come from chronic allergies, structural abnormalities, or enlarged tonsils.

But so what? Why is this an issue?

Chronic mouth breathing has been linked to more frequent illness, poorer sleep quality, TMJ disorders, chronic pain, ADD/ADHD, and delayed or improper development of the jaw or facial structures.

We can help.

At Voz Speech Therapy, we offer speech therapy treatments for chronic open mouth positioning and breathing. We’ll help your child by bringing awareness to their oral posture, and teaching them to break the habit of their chronic open-mouth positioning.

We will also check to see if there are any structural abnormalities, such as a tongue/lip tie or enlarged tonsils.

In some cases, it may make sense to refer your child to another specialist who can help with any structural issues they may be facing. Voz Speech Therapy has a list of reliable referral partners who can help.

Book your appointment with Voz Speech Therapy today to find out more.

Speech Therapy For Dental Abnormalities

Dentistry is the realm of dentists, of course.

However, dental and structural abnormalities lead to speech disorders as well. This can include:

  • Tongue & lip ties
  • Misaligned jaw
  • Misaligned teeth
  • Misaligned bite
  • Chronic mouth breathing
  • Sleep apnea
  • Snoring
  • Drooling
  • And more

To treat the root cause of these issues, it’s best to see a dentist or an orthodontist. However, when speech, breathing, or swallowing issues arise as a result of them, a speech therapist can help.

If your child has dental issues that are causing speech issues, book an appointment with us here at Voz Speech Therapy.

Speech Therapy For Distorted Speech

Often when someone has an orofacial myofunctional disorder, distorted speech may come along with it, as well as feeding and swallowing deficits.

This can include lisps, where you have difficulty pronouncing the letter s or z, in what’s called an interdental lisp. It can also cause issues with pronouncing letters like d, l, n, r, or t.

Speech therapy can help.

We will work to get to the bottom of your distortion and swallowing issues and work with you to solve them.

Book Your Appointment With Voz Speech Therapy Today

Are you concerned your child has an orofacial myofunctional disorder?

Or, having read the symptoms above, do you feel like you may have one yourself?

If so, we can help.

Book your appointment today with Voz Speech Therapy to find out more.

Clear, confident communication is possible. Voz Speech Therapy can help. 

Book a consultation today to find out how.