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: Do you have any recommendations or suggestions for building a basic oral motor therapy kit?
There are literally thousands of objects one could use as an aid to oral movement in articulation therapy. I call them “the toys and tools of articulation training.”
Charles Van Riper called them “phonetic placement devices” and wrote:
“Every available device should be used to make the student understand clearly what positions of tongue, jaw, and lips are to be assumed” (Van Riper, 1954).
If I had to build an oral motor kit with as few tools as possible, I would construct it with the following simple set:
- Straws of various sizes: To bite on to stabilize the jaw; And to place in front of the teeth in order to monitor the size, shape, and direction of the central airstream.
- Siren or spirometer: To discover and practice inhaling, exhaling, and aspects of exhaling.
- Kazoo: To discover and practice voice and its aspects – projection, prolongation, and so forth.
- Nuk Oral Massagers: To provide tactile stimulation to the lips, tongue, palate, and velum; To stimulate chewing movements; To bite on the handle for a low jaw (wide mouth) position.
- A Tongue Cleaner (Scraper): In order to teach the tongue to curl up and back and to increase tension in the tongue.