Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy is an evidence-based approach that can improve the strength, coordination, and function of the face, lips, tongue and jaw. There’s a lot that goes into delivering exceptional Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy, including specialised training and certification that Speech Pathologists (like us!) and other Allied Health Professionals can undertake. If you’re curious to learn more about what Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy is and how it could benefit you or your loved ones, keep on reading.
What is Orofacial Myology?
Orofacial Myology is the study of the oral and facial muscles in relation to their movement patterns for daily life. It’s pretty cool stuff if we say so ourselves! There’s a lot that goes into everyday movement patterns like chewing, swallowing, speaking, breathing, posture and even sleeping that we aren’t often aware of. But when we aren’t able to complete these movement patterns with ease? It can make things a little tricky.
In this situation, you’ll benefit from seeking the support of a qualified Orofacial Myofunctional therapist. Only those who are certified in Orofacial Myology can deliver Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy. In Australia, these certified professionals are typically in the allied health profession, like Speech Pathologists, Dentists, or even body workers (chiro, physio, lactation consultants, osteos, OT.
What is Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy?
Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy is the application of Orofacial Myology. This therapy typically includes functional based exercises (postures, positioning, coordination, strength) and techniques that support overall therapy goals. Our Myofunctional Therapy trained clinicians incorporate their knowledge of Orofacial Myology and specific therapy techniques into supporting clients with speech and feeding difficulties.
The way we look at it, Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy helps Speech Pathologists to gain a deeper understanding of the challenges their clients are facing and what can be done on a holistic level to improve overall function.
Getting started with Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy typically involves an in-depth assessment to get a baseline of all functions and movement in the oral and facial region as well as full body posture. From there, an intervention approach is selected which will include a combination of regular face-to-face intervention with a clinician and daily (often 3x 1min a day) home practice. As clinicians, we love how Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy can incorporate lots of fun activities and exercises to support engagement and ultimately, improving function in everyday life.
Who is Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy for?
Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy can be an effective treatment when implemented alongside other therapeutic approaches, like speech therapy. For example, at SpeechEase Speech Therapy, our clinicians have noticed the positive benefits of incorporating Orofacial Myofunctional techniques with clients experiencing articulation difficulties.
But if you’re looking for a more general idea of what kinds of functional presentations may indicate that you or a loved one would benefit from an Orofacial Myofunctional assessment, below is a helpful guide.
- Difficulties with coordination and movement of the lips tongue and jaw
- Mouth breathing
- Poor sleep
- Poor oral habits (i.e. tongue thrust) and drooling
- Oral restrictions (tongue, lips, buccal ties)
- Thumb sucking
- Facial asymmetry (facial tone)
- Speech sound errors / articulation delays
- Feeding difficulties (e.g. messy eating, immature oral patterns)
To find a certified Orofacial Myofunctional Therapist based in Australia, search the directory here.
Did you find this article helpful? If so, and you’d like to make an appointment with one of our Orofacial Myofunctional Therapists at SpeechEase Speech Therapy, register for our services here.