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Saturday, November 2, 2013

Orofacial Myology

Lucy and I met with Lorraine Frey who is an orofacial myologist recommended by our dentist. Lucy still has significant tongue thrust issues when her mouth jewelry is removed. She also has diminished lip strength, difficulty chewing with her mouth closed and mouth breathing. Can you believe I have a mouth breather on my hands?! Sorry, couldn't let that pass....

So, moving on. Lorraine works with children who need help working with the muscles in/around your mouth. The goal is for her tongue to naturally rest up in her palate with her mouth closed instead of between her teeth with her lips open. Without this correction, all of the expansion we have achieved with her mouth jewelry will be for naught...her teeth and palate will close back in without the muscle of the tongue keeping it all in place. The ideal palate is wide and low, exactly where hers is. Kate's, by contrast, is high and narrow, which is why she now has mouth jewelry as well.

If you are interested, click here to read more about it.

To begin, Lucy (and Kate since what one sister has/does, the other must as well) has a set of exercises that we do three times a day. Sounds like a lot but it really only takes 5-10 minutes each time.

Exercises include the paper plate hold. She holds the plate between her lips (no teeth) for as long as she can, keeping it perpendicular.
 It's harder than it sounds when your lips are weak.
Next up is the button pull. She puts the button upright behind her lips but in front of her teeth. Then Lucy is to pull the string out perpendicular to the floor, and holding the button as tight as she can, pull it out making a popping sound.

Cork pops are her favorite. Using a wine cork, make a strong and loud pop as you pull it out of your mouth.
 Blowing bubbles continuously for 2 minutes made Kate happy as she chased them around the room.
For the last two exercises, she has a party blower that she must blow for 1 minute and finally, make a motor boat sound with the lips for a 5 count. Neither Kate nor Lucy can do this yet.

Lastly, Lorraine makes sticky dots out of fructose that eventually dissolves. One of these is placed behind her top teeth (but not touching the teeth) and we play waggle/spot. She first wags her tongue and then touches the tip of her tongue to the dot. This serves to strengthen her tongue and then train it to rest in her palate. You can kind of see the dot in this photo...it's the flesh-colored dot at the front of her palate.
So now, when I notice her sucking or thrusting her tongue, we play waggle spot and then we end with her touching her tongue to the spot and then closing her lips. Thus far she's enthusiastic about it so finger's crossed that this continues!

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