Oral Motor Skills

Occupational therapists address Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) which include eating and feeding. Eating is “the ability to keep and manipulate food or fluid in the mouth and swallow it” (AOTA, 2008, p. 631), and feeding is “the process of setting up, arranging, and bringing food and/or fluid…to the mouth (AOTA, 2008, p. 631).

Oral motor development refers to the use and function of the lips, tongue, jaw, teeth, and the hard and soft palates. The movement and coordination of these structures is very important in speech production, safe swallowing, and consuming various food textures. Normal oral motor development begins prior to birth and continues beyond age three. By age four, most children safely consume solids and liquids without choking. (www.superduperinc.com). Examples of oral motor skills addressed include:

  • Drooling
  • Tongue Movement
  • Biting
  • Chewing
  • Jaw Strength

If you have concerns about your child’s oral motor development please call to set up a consultation to see if occupational therapy is right for your child.