Speech Pathology Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders

Definition of Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders (Tongue Thrust)

An Orofacial Myofunctional Disorder is a problem with the movement of the tongue in the mouth during rest, speech and/or swallowing.

Common signs of Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders:

  • Problems pronouncing sounds correctly
  • Dental concerns, such as an open bite
  • Tongue thrust: a habit of placing the tongue against or between the teeth during speech or swallowing

What to do if you suspect your child might have an Orofacial Myofunctional Disorder:

If you suspect your child might have an orofacial myofunctional disorders, talk to your primary care physician and dentist about your concerns. Your physician can refer your child to a Speech-Language Pathologist at Children's Mercy Hospitals and Clinics for formal testing. A tongue thrust can be identified and treated after age 5.

How is an Orofacial Myofunctional Disorder diagnosed?

A speech-language pathologist (SLP) assesses your child's movements of the tongue in conjunction with their lip, cheeks, teeth, and jaws. Your child is observed while talking and while swallowing liquids and/or solid foods. The SLP may recommend further testing by an orthodontist and/or otolaryngologist (Ear, Nose and Throat doctor).

How is an Orofacial Myofunctional Disordertreated?

After testing, if your child is diagnosed with an orofacial myofunctional disorder, your speech pathologist will provide you with information about the condition and speech therapy resources at CMH, the community. Orofacial myofunctional disorders are not usually treated in the school, unless the problem affects the child's educational progress.

The Kreamer Family Resource Center at CMH can help families with web-based resources about orofacial myofunctional disorder.


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