Oral Placement Therapy (OPT) is a therapeutic technique that focuses on improving the oral motor skills necessary for feeding, speech, communication and swallowing. It is used in speech therapy to address difficulties related to articulation, speech sound disorders, oral-motor weakness, and feeding issues.
The goal of OPT is to develop and strengthen the muscles of the lips, tongue, and jaw, as well as improve overall oral coordination and control. By targeting these specific muscles and movements, individuals can enhance their speech clarity, intelligibility, and feeding abilities.
The therapy typically involves a combination of techniques and exercises tailored to the individual’s needs. These may include lip and tongue exercises, facial massage, blowing activities, sucking and chewing exercises, tongue-jaw dissociation exercises, and various oral motor tasks using tools like straws, bubbles, and oral motor toys.
OPT is recommended to individuals who have difficulty with speech production or feeding due to underlying conditions such as apraxia of speech, dysarthria, Down syndrome, cleft palate, or other neurological or motor disorders. It aims to promote the development of correct oral movements, muscle strength, and coordination to improve speech and feeding abilities.
Benefits of oral placement therapy
Oral Placement Therapy offers a range of benefits that can greatly improve feeding, speech and communication skills. Here are some key advantages of this therapy:
Enhanced Speech Clarity:
Oral placement therapy targets specific muscles involved in speech production, leading to clearer and more intelligible speech. It helps individuals develop precise articulation and improve overall speech clarity.
Improved Swallowing Abilities:
This therapy focuses on strengthening the muscles involved in swallowing, which can be beneficial for individuals with swallowing difficulties or dysphagia. It helps enhance swallowing coordination and reduces the risk of aspiration.
By addressing oral motor weaknesses and promoting proper tongue, lip, and jaw movements, oral placement therapy can significantly enhance articulation skills. It assists individuals in producing sounds correctly, resulting in more accurate speech production.
Oral placement therapy targets the dissociation of various oral structures involved in speech production, such as the tongue, lips, and jaw. By improving the coordination between these muscles, individuals can achieve smoother and more coordinated speech.
Increased Vocal Strength:
Strengthening the muscles used for speech production can also lead to increased vocal strength. This can be particularly beneficial for individuals who experience vocal fatigue or struggle with the projection and volume control.
Confidence and Self-Esteem:
As individuals make progress in their speech and communication skills through oral placement therapy, their confidence and self-esteem often improve. The ability to communicate more effectively can have a positive impact on overall well-being and social interactions.
Improved Breath Control:
Oral placement therapy incorporates techniques that focus on developing proper breath control during speech. By enhancing breath support and control, individuals can achieve more controlled and fluent speech.
It’s important to note that the specific benefits of oral placement therapy may vary depending on individual needs and goals. Working with a qualified therapist who specializes in this technique can provide personalized guidance and maximize the benefits of the therapy.