Speech Therapy

Should Your Child Be Screened for Oral Motor Disorders?

When kids are learning to talk, they often mispronounce words and we all think it’s cute. Just like children have to build up their muscles to walk, they need to develop oral-motor-disordersoral muscles that are used in speaking.

In many cases, the weaknesses with word pronunciation that we hear get resolved without intervention because children make improvements by practicing and developing those verbal skills. However, there’s also a chance your child is coping with an oral motor disorder that requires professional guidance to treat.

Types of Oral Motor Disorders

Oral motor disorders fall into two types:

  • Articulation disorders
  • Developmental Apraxia of Speech (DAS)

motor-disordersA child who is dealing with either of these issues may not only have trouble with speech, but could also struggle with mouth-related tasks such as sipping from a straw or eating. Children with DAS frequently have difficulty moving their mouths in the ways that are necessary to form words, whereas kids who’ve been diagnosed with articulation disorders might have lisps, be unable to say certain sounds or substitute one word for another.

Visual and Audible Symptoms of Oral Motor Disorders

As a parent, you arguably know your child better than anyone else. That’s why parents are usually the first to notice that something might be wrong with the way your children are verbally expressing themselves. Some of the most obvious clues of possible problems include:

  • Gagging often while eating
  • Failing to say certain consonants after age three
  • Not liking to eat foods that must be chewed
  • Having difficulty putting sounds in the right order to form words
  • Struggling to move the tongue
  • Consistently displaying an open or drooping mouth even while not speaking
  • Drooling after the age of 18 months
  • Being hard to understand

Diagnosing and Treating Oral Motor Disorders

Doctors aren’t sure what causes oral motor disorders in children, but they frequently recommend seeking a diagnosis as soon as possible by visiting a speech pathology center near you. You can likely get a referral by your child’s pediatrician. Oral motor disorders usually become most apparent around age two.

These issues are often treated through speech and language center. A speech pathologist in New Jersey will serve as a good resource for both you and your child’s teachers.

Discovering that your child is not developing at the same average rate as his or her peers can feel overwhelming. However, your best course of action is to get information through speech therapist in Somerset County so you can choose the best course of action for a child with oral motor disorders.

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