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Oral Motor Development

We have added a new section on Oral Motor on the Active Learning Space site!   It includes an overview, oral motor development and issues, and oral motor development and speech.
Boy using a buncher to hold his fork
A boy uses a buncher to hold his fork.
Oral motor skill development refers to the use and function of the lips, tongue, hard and soft palates, jaw, and teeth.  The movement and coordination of these structures is very important in speech production, safe swallowing, and consuming various food items. Normal oral motor development begins prior to birth and continues beyond the age of three.  By age four, most children can safely consume solids and liquids without choking.  Children with special needs can frequently exhibit immature oral motor skills.  For these children, it is important that an active learning curriculum include daily participation in oral motor activities. 

Issues with Oral Motor Development

Prior to creating any intervention strategy, an assessment must first be completed.  There are three main components to oral motor deficiencies:  sensory, motor, and behavioral.  A child can have deficits in one, two or all three of these areas.  

Watch video examples of oral motor issues and tips to facilitate development.  

Oral Motor Development and Speech

Oral motor activities are often associated only with eating and drinking, but the mouth is also used to express oneself through vocalizations and eventually language.  As the lips, tongue, and cheeks develop increased sensory and motor skills, the ability to create varying sounds increases.  As cognitive development occurs, language skills increase.  All children should be given Active Learning environments to encourage vocalizations, to allow for repetition of vocalizations, and to eventually encourage imitation of vocalizations and sounds.  

Watch videos promoting vocalization with learners.

Videos Demonstrating Oral Motor Issues

The two videos below were part of our April webinar: Oral Motor Development.  They are also available on our website.
In this video of a young boy, notice the protrusion of his tongue. He is unable to eat liquid or food by mouth and receives his nutrition from a gastro-tube. The chime activity allows him to gain head control and allows for exploration with the mouth.
Oral Motor:  Vibrating Toothbrush
In this video, a boy is presented with a vibrating toothbrush. He is allowed to become aware of the toothbrush, to experiment, explore and repeat his actions.

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Did you miss our April webinar on Oral Motor Development?  It's now available online and we invite you to watch it.

Join our Study Group!

We will be hosting a series of four online study groups during the 2019-2020 school year for teachers, therapists, families, and anyone who is interested in learning more about Active Learning.  

The purpose of the Study Group will be to share case studies and discuss implementation of an Active Learning approach. Using student video and planning documents, participants will collaborate to design effective and meaningful instruction using active learning strategies. Each session will require one volunteer to share information and video of one of their students. These videos will NOT be posted online and will only be viewed during the live sessions with a closed group. 

The sessions will be from 3 p.m.- 4 p.m. Central Time on 09/24/19, 11/19/19, 1/21/20, and 3/24/20. Interested parties are not required to participate in all four meetings, but it is encouraged. Drop-ins are also welcome!
Contact Scott Baltisberger or Sara Kitchen for more information.

Learn more.

Upcoming Training Events

June 10-11:  Patty Obrzut, Dallas, Texas
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Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired
Perkins School for the Blind
Penrickton Center for Blind Children

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