Oral Motor Activites Part 2
Oral Motor Activities (Part 2)
‘Oral-motor’ is the term used to describe the mouth and mouth/tongue movements. The oral system allow us to process information needed for tasting, sucking, swallowing, biting, chewing, lip closure and talking.
As a baby the mouth (oral) system is the most highly developed sensory motor system as it is important for nourishment and basic survival. Most of the exploration of a baby’s world is through the mouth. As we grow, we learn about the movements of the tongue and the lips to make sounds and produce speech. We also learn what tastes we prefer, how to control food in the mouth and develop safe eating and drinking.
Oral motor activities are an important way of increasing your child’s awareness and movement of their mouth and tongue as well as building the strength of their lips and facial muscles.
Here are some more activities to try-
Humming: Humming competitions may not sound exciting but this is a great game to play in the car. Hum a note and see if your child can copy the note. Gradually transition from a very high-pitched note to a low-pitched one. Play with volume, going from loud to quiet. This helps develop lip closure.
Play Time: Blow bubbles through straws and bubble wands. Use a bucket or container with a small amount of water, liquid soap or bubble mixture and a chewy tube or straw to blow. Encourage your child to blow out (exhale) slowly and see if they can get the bubbles to the top of the container. Also try face painting and blowing paint through straws.
Licking Practice: Pretend you are a lizard and catch flies with your tongue. See how fast you can pull the tongue back inside your mouth. Pretend you are cleaning your teeth with your tongue. Rub your tongue over the top and bottom teeth and then along the sides. Push your tongue into the inside of your cheek and hold it for as long as you can. Do this on both sides of your face. Lick around your lips in one direction and then the other direction.
Daily Routine: Use a vibrating toothbrush. Encourage thorough teeth cleaning in front of a mirror. At bath-time have fun with bubble bath, play blowing more bubbles and doing licking practice. Vary textures of towels to wipe face, soft and fluffy to more textured. Blow bubbles in milk or juice with straw. Help your child learn a regular routine of checking his/her face in the mirror and wiping their mouth. When eating no over filling of mouth – remind him/her to chew completely before swallowing. Encourage lots of kisses!
Janine Day (Occupational Therapist) and Anne McSweeney (Speech Language Pathologist)
References: ‘Learning Through the Senses Resource Manual – The Impact of Sensory Processing in the Classroom’, Northern Territory Government Department of Health & Community Services 2003