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 should we write IEP goals for oral-motor?
The answer I always give is: DON’T. Our goals are not to improve jaw, lip or tongue function. Our goals are to improve speech. Write SPEECH goals. Oral-motor techniques are just that: TECHNIQUES. Oral-motor techniques are used to help us achieve the speech goals we have set.
For example, let’s say that we are working with a child who has no back sounds – no [k] or [g]. Our therapy techniques will be multisensory:
- Visual – e.g., use a mirror, draw a picture, use a puppet, use your hands
- Auditory – e.g., present a model, amplify it, prolong it, whisper it, make it salient
- Tactile – e.g., touch the part of the tongue that needs to move
- Proprioceptive – e.g., have the client press down the back of his tongue gently while he pushes it up
- Verbal – e.g, tell him what to do, use vocabulary at his language level
- Imaginative – e.g., “Make the crashing sound” or “Make the froggie sound”
- Repetitive – drill the appropriate responses to make the client more aware of and in more control of the sounds and movements; use drill to gain voluntary control
I like to call traditional articulation therapy “Show and Tell Therapy.” We show the client what to do and we tell him about it. If that is all he needs, then that is all we do. Oral-motor techniques are the tactile and proprioceptive techniques that may be necessary to achieve the oral positions we desire. The oral movements and positions are not our end products: the speech sounds are.