Oral Motor Activities and Seizures

By Pam Marshalla

Q: Could you give me specifics on what to avoid when doing oral motor work with children who have seizures? Of course, stopping treatment during the seizure and giving recovery time is essential. Anything else?

In regard to seizures and oral-motor activities:

  • Stop treatment activities during seizures
  • Avoid treatment activities that seem to cause seizures
  • Allow the recovery time that the child needs to re-focus and process
  • Avoid treatment activities that cause or contribute to fatigue

2 thoughts on “Oral Motor Activities and Seizures”

  1. The term “oral motor exercise” means a thousand different things. It refers to everything from simply sticking out the tongue, to bouncing on a trampoline, to sucking on an ice cube. Many different sensory and motor activities can cause seizure activity. There the answer to your question is: Yes. Some activities designed to improve oral function might cause a seizure if applied by therapists untrained in the safety aspects of neuromuscular and sensory-motor therapy programs.

    However, I think the real question you are asking is about vibration and its relationship to seizure activity. We should divide this into two questions:

    (1) Can vibration cause seizure activity? I believe the answer to that is yes.

    (2) Could a tool like the Z-Vibe, which is a vibratory tool, therefore cause seizure activity? I believe that the answer to that is yes as well.

    In my personal therapy, I never use vibration in therapy with clients who have a history of seizure activity.

    Further information about the relationship between vibration and seizure activity should be address to an occupational therapist, physical therapist, or neurologist trained in these matters.

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