This advice-column-style blog for SLPs was authored by Pam Marshalla from 2006 to 2015, the archives of which can be explored here. Use the extensive keywords list found in the right-hand column (on mobile: at the bottom of the page) to browse specific topics, or use the search feature to locate specific words or phrases throughout the entire blog.
Q: How can I get my client with Down syndrome (DS) to keep her tongue inside the mouth during speech?
A client with Down syndrome has low tone, dysarthria, and lack of oral stability.
The oral mechanism is supposed to be stabilized in a certain way during speech. The jaw should move up-and-down in a very small restricted range that is high, and the tongue should anchor its movements in the back against the back lateral teeth or palate.
Children with DS almost always use a different stability pattern.
First, the jaw moves up-and-down in a pattern that is situated too low.
Second, they stabilize the tongue in the front instead of the back. They anchor the underside of the front of the tongue against one or more of the lower structures–– the lower lip, the lower teeth, or on the gums at the base of the lower teeth.
A client with DS needs to learn correct oral stability.
The topic of developing oral stability is a big one that is too big for me to cover here. I will have a whole chapter about it in my next book–– The Marshalla Guide––that will be published in 2014.