Sibilants and Tongue Cribs

By Pam Marshalla

Tongue CribQ: Can I expect correct articulation on S, Z, Sh, ZH, CH, J, T, D, N, and L when my client has a tongue crib that fills the entire alveolar ridge? The orthodontist is recommending SL therapy for the phonemes and to fix the swallow.

In my experience clients usually cannot produce any of their lingua-alveolar and/or sibilant sounds correctly as long as an appliance like that is in the mouth.  The appliance distorts sound, especially stridency.

I usually do not recommend that remediation start with such an appliance.  I usually recommend that the oral rest position and the swallow be corrected first, then we go to the appliance if necessary.

However, the real question is, do you have special training in the teaching of oral rest, feeding, and swallowing?

I do not think that SLPs without this training should be doing this work. It is not something most therapists are taught in school…Unfortunately!

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