Speech therapists, feeding therapy and orofacial what?
Here's the scoop...
Hey there! My name is Amy and I am a speech-language pathologist, feeding therapist and orofacial myofunctional therapist. As a young child I remember loving to learn the alphabet and the sounds for each letter. Fast forward to college... I had changed my major as often as a chameleon changes colors and my junior year in undergrad was fast approaching! I thought I had diligently combed through each and every course of study ETSU had to offer. As I continued to search for a college major feelings of overwhelm continued to grow. I prayed for guidance (definitely should've done this first!), searched through the courses of study one more time and literally stumbled upon Communication Disorders. As I looked through the courses I noticed classes related to phonetics and phonology. I remembered how I had always loved phonics and how words were formed (very weird, I know!), then my feelings of overwhelm turned into an overwhelming sense of peace. I love it when God works like that! Now fast forward 10 more years.... I'm a practicing speech therapist, loving my profession and soaking up every opportunity I can to learn new treatment techniques and continue my education. Dysphagia had been discussed briefly in graduate school, but mostly as it related to the adult population. I attended several continuing education courses related to pediatric feeding and a new passion was ignited. I was very intrigued by the obvious relationship between speaking and eating. Several presenters at continuing education courses vaguely eluded to this relationship, but there always seemed to be a missing link. Actually, there were many missing links. After many years of providing speech and feeding therapy I began studying about orofacial myofunctional dysfunction and attended a course about orofacial myofunctional disorders. My eyes were opened and the missing links were finally discovered. It was during this course that I discovered I had a tongue-tie. Not only were the missing links within my profession discovered, but many personal health annoyances were answered. I hope you'll check back and read the roller-coaster ride of my tongue-tie journey in future blogs. It has definitely been an experience!
Feeding therapy is more than just "teaching a child to eat". Therapists work closely with patients and their families to determine the source of the child's difficulties and develop a very specific plan to make the entire process of eating safe, easier and more enjoyable.
Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy
Orofacial myofunctional disorders (OMD's) are disorders of the muscles and functions of the face and mouth. OMD's may affect breastfeeding, facial skeletal growth/development, chewing, swallowing, speech, occulusion, temporomandibular joint movment, oral hygiene, stability of orthodontic treatment, facial esthetics and more. Orofacial myofunctional therapy provides intense treatment for OMD's as therapists collaborate with other professionals to create a team approach.