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: What do you do for drooling? Do I need to be a swallowing expert to do it?
I see drooling as a three-fold problem––
- The child doesn’t swallow often enough.
- The child doesn’t swallow well enough. (He doesn’t evacuate completely).
- The child isn’t aware when saliva is building up in his mouth, on his lips, etc. (He doesn’t notice it or doesn’t care about it).
So my therapy addresses all three of these issues––
- I teach them to swallow every 1.5 minutes while we engaged in our other speech/language activities. (I use an eyedropper to shoot 2ccs of icy cold water or apple juice into the mouth between closed lips, and I tell them, “Here it comes. Time to swallow.”) Over time I fade the dropper and liquid and teach a dry swallow.
- I make sure they are swallowing correctly. (This is where the knowledge of correct swallow comes in. I do some feeding activities for this.)
- I help them become more aware of saliva and drooling, and I help them care about this. I use mirrors and direct verbal information (e.g., “Oh-oh, you are getting all wet.” “We don’t like that wetness.” “Most people try to stay dry.” “Being dry is nice.” “Mommy likes dryness.”)
For a broader approach please see my little book called How to Stop Drooling.