Improve Your Child’s Oral Motor Skills

Posted by BLuborsky in Articles on Thu, May 3, 2012

It can be fun to help your child improve oral motor skills.  The more playful  you can make it and the more like a game it is, the easier it will be to get your child involved and trying things.

Try playing with your child in front of the mirror making faces and silly sounds to promote development of the muscles in the cheeks, lips and tongue. Make an OOOOO sound while emphasizing the round shape of your lips.  See if your child can copy you and make the sound together, watching the round mouth shapes in the mirror.  Then try an EEEEEE sound, emphasizing the way you need to pull back the corners of your mouth to make the sound.  Have your child imitate you and make the sound together, watching in the mirror.

Now try alternating OOOO-EEEEE-OOOO-EEEE and see how funny it looks to make a round mouth shape and then a pulled-back-corners-of-the-mouth shape alternating quickly. Try a ZZZZZ sound, popping P sound and SSSS hiss as well.   Another game, aimed at strengthening the tongue is to put your finger on the child’s cheek and see if he can push it away with his tongue.

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About Barbara Luborsky

Barbara Luborsky, OTR/L, has worked with children of all ages with various diagnoses including: autism/PDD, cerebral palsy, developmental delay, Down syndrome, learning disabilities, and sensory processing deficits. She has worked in the D.C. Public Schools (Evaluation Specialist), The Treatment and Learning Centers/ Katherine Thomas School (Senior O.T.), and Frederick County Infants and Toddler's Program. Barbara has attended continuing education seminars on topics including REI, Sensory Integration, Ergonomics, Family-Centered care, Neurodevelopmental Treatment, and NDT Treatment of the Baby. In addition to her pediatric practice, Barbara provides consultative services to various agencies in the region serving adults with developmental disabilities. She is currently working on publication of several parent resource tools. These include a video about facilitating development of hand skills in children, and Power Point presentations about various diagnoses designed to help families share information about their child with family and schoolmates.

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