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Speech and Articulation Disorders

Speech and Articulation Disorders

It is common that a child has received traditional speech therapy for many years with minimal progress prior to discovering the Myofunctional Clinic of Bellevue. This clinic specializes in the investigation of the underlying causes of the presenting speech articulation challenges. Common speech disorders that are treated in this clinic include lateral lisps (air escapes laterally instead of over the center of the tongue) frontal lisps or forward tongue placement (tongue protrudes between the upper/lower incisors) with sounds /t/, /d/, /n/, /l/, /s/, /z/, /sh/, /j/, /ch/and distortions of the /r/ in all word positions.

This clinic conducts a thorough orofacial myofunctional assessment on every patient to determine if there are underlying structural or functional etiologies to any speech articulation challenges that are presented. Children that use compensations such as excessive lip and facial movements, a forward or lateral sliding pattern of the lower jaw or minimal lower jaw movement may have limited tongue range of motion due to an anterior or posterior tongue tie. If a child is showing slow changes with traditional speech articulation therapy to correct a frontal or lateral lisp pattern, they likely have an oromyofunctional disorder where the tongue rests forward or laterally against the teeth and exhibit an incorrect swallowing pattern.

In order to correct many speech problems with these underlying etiologies this clinic uses their specific program called “Myo-Speech” which is an integration of myofunctional therapy and special techniques to provide oral stability to attain improved mobility of the speech articulators (tongue, lips, jaw). Oral structure is also a particularly important consideration in achieving proper speech articulation patterns. Early orthodontic intervention helps prevent abnormal compensation patterns from developing.

It is often difficult for a parent to know if their child will “outgrow” their perceived speech problems. It is common that a pediatrician will recommend a “wait and see approach” to determine if a child will outgrow their speech errors. The longer that dysfunctional oral patterns remain the more resistant they are to change. A speech-language pathologist that specializes in orofacial myology has the tools and expertise to determine if a child will outgrow their speech issues or if therapy is indicated. Call us today so we can investigate.

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