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It's ALL Connected

Updated: Jul 31, 2023

I met a young lady today, and she appeared very quiet, well-mannered and mature for her age.

While speaking with the young lady, I began noticing some additional features that really had me thinking. I learned that she had been receiving speech therapy for the same goal for past five years. She had difficulty producing the /r/ sound at the end of words. Additionally, I realized that she had bags under her eyes which suggests that she may not be receiving adequate rest due to a possible airway obstruction that may be related to an orofacial myofunctional disorder.

The oral motor mechanism examination revealed malocclusion of the upper and lower teeth with misalignment of the maxilla and mandible with and open bite. An open bite in most cases precludes a tongue thrust pattern. Tongue thrust is linked to an immature swallow pattern which also negatively impacts oral resting posture. The incorrect resting posture leads to decreased airway function.

At the end of our session, it was evident that this young lady had many features that are consistent with an orofacial myofunctional disorder (OMD). A more in-depth evaluation is indicated to confirm the presence of OMD.

As a speech and language pathologist, I understand that oral motor form direclty affects oral motor function. At the end of the day, "it's all connected."

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