Believe it or not we all use our lingual muscles to assist us with moving the food in our mouths. For example, we use our lingual muscles to “lateralize” or move the food from one side of our oral cavity to the other. Once the food is chewed up into a mushy ball also known as the “bolus,” then we are ready to swallow. It is our lingual muscles that propels the bolus back for us to begin the swallowing process. For a child who has immobility of their lingual muscles whether it is due to muscle weakness or having a tongue tie also known as “ankyloglossia ” this process that is conducted daily can be a challenge for them.
In order to strengthen the lingual muscles oral motor therapy is typically recommended and if the child is of age then myofunctional therapy may be recommended. Some of the oral motor exercises may consist of lateralizing the tongue, elevating the tongue, protruding and retracting the tongue. The exact oral motor exercises that your child has as their target goals in therapy will be determined after receiving an evaluation and will be reflected on your child’s evaluation report.
Spot Pal can further assist your child in learning and carrying over the learned oral motor exercises to improve and strengthen their lingual muscles. By using Spot Pal along with the oral motor exercises your child is retraining their muscle memory of their tongue. They are improving their overall awareness of their lingual resting posture as this can be the underlying root of why your child may have a resting open mouth or chewing with their mouth opened rather than closed. The Spot Pal can assist a child as young at 2 years of age with the Spot Pal Mini.