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During the time when numerous anti-oral motor articles were being published and when Evidence-Based Practice (EBP) came into vogue, a comprehensive literature review of language intervention with children was done by Cirrin and Gillam in 2008. Although the article is almost 12 years old, I bet you’ve never heard of it--or the results.
There is very little research, practical or otherwise, about the tongue’s characteristics during speech sound productions. Most typically, we’ve used descriptors such as “place, manner, and voice,” or binary distinctive feature terms which have pretty much fallen from favor. Currently, the terms most often used are phonological processes. While they are excellent at describing speech oral error patterns, they don’t provide much by way of describing desirable speech production—which is the goal, of course.
Right up there with negativity of “oral motor” therapy (i.e. therapy to build oral movement capability and speech skills) is anything that has to do with “SENSORY” therapy.” In fact, it’s even more taboo.
While preparing The Perfect Oral Motor Storm (podcast/handout), I came across a statement by Dr. Gregory Lof (2017). I nearly fell out of my chair: “Awareness and its role in therapy is always questioned.”
In therapy, have you ever had a child ask you if they could take home the boardgame you’re playing? For me, usually it was some game I’d purchased at Super Duper or somewhere. The kids were so disappointed when I said the game had to stay at school so other children could play, too.