Speech and Oral Motor Therapy for Children with Downs Syndrome
Speech and Oral-Motor/Feeding Therapy aim at improving communication skills in the areas of sound and speech production, respiration and proper breath control for a variety of sounds, understanding and using a variety of language concepts, skills for social interaction, management and control of food for functional eating, and toleration of a variety of food textures.
Speech and Sound Production (Articulation)
Children with Down syndrome commonly have difficulty producing sounds that require strength and endurance of the mouth and jaw muscles (i.e. “j”, “l”), and regulating/differentiating air flow for a variety of sounds (i.e. “sh”, “s”, “f”). This is can lead to adults and peers having difficulty understanding wants and needs, which ultimately can influence social development, and reading and spelling skills.
Language and Social Skills
Children with Down syndrome commonly have difficulty following 2-3 step directions, using age appropriate sentence structure, answering yes/no questions, answering what/where/why questions, maintaining personal space, understanding body language, and understanding significance of vocal tone in a variety of social situations. This can lead to increased academic difficulty, increased difficulty with reading and writing, and maintaining interpersonal relationships.
Oral Motor/Feeding Skills
Children with Down syndrome commonly have larger tongues, and decreased lip, tongue and jaw strength. This can lead to difficulty managing and controlling food and secretions, eating a variety of textures of food, difficulty drinking from a cup or straw, difficulty eating from a spoon, and overall obtaining adequate nutrition and hydration.
Speech Therapy and Oral-Motor/Feeding Therapy have proven to be both needed and effective at improving deficits in these areas.
Speech-Language and Oral-Motor Feeding Therapy includes parent instructions on strategies for improving communication and feeding skills at home and in the community.