Ask A Therapist: Oral Motor Strengthening

I was just assigned a 13 month old who was diagnosed at birth with bells palsy. He is much better now and the weakness on one side only shows up when he smiles (mom showed me how it droops in pictures). I want to do some oral motor strengthening. I have chosen a combination of your oral motor work and some Beckman strategies, but do you have any specific tips for this case?

I think one of the most important things you can do is to work on his cheeks. (My course “Feeding Therapy: A Sensory Motor Approach” has been updated with new pre-feeding exercises.) I would start with the cheek stretch, then work on cheek resistance and finally fish lip pops. If you can make some specific observations about function, I may have additional suggestions.

Lori Overland

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