Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders
Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders Resources
The investigation, assessment, and treatment of oral
myofunctional disorders are within the purview of speech-language pathology
practice. Oral myofunctional phenomena, including abnormal fronting (tongue
thrust) of the tongue at rest and during swallowing, lip incompetency, and
sucking habits, can be identified reliably. These conditions co-occur with
speech misarticulations in some patients. Tongue fronting may reflect learned
behaviors, physical variables, or both.
The speech-language pathologist (SLP) who desires to perform
oral myofunctional services must have the required knowledge and skills to provide
a high quality of treatment. The provision of oral myofunctional treatment remains
an option of individual SLPs whose interests and training qualify them.
Evaluation and treatment should be:
- interdisciplinary and tailored to the individual;
- in collaboration with other professionals, including an orthodontist, pediatric dentist, or other dentist;
- in collaboration
with other medical professionals, including an otolaryngologist,
pediatrician, or allergist as needed.
Goals for treatment should include retraining labial and
lingual resting and functional patterns (including speech). Clinicians should avoid
predictions of treatment outcomes based on tooth position or dental occlusal
Research exists indicating that oral myofunctional treatment
is effective in modifying disorders of tongue and lip posture and movement.
However, more basic and applied research is needed regarding the nature and
evaluation and treatment of oral myofunctional disorders.
The information about orofacial myology on ASHA's website is
drawn primarily from ASHA committees that developed resources on orofacial
myofunctional disorders. Members of those committees included Robert M. Mason, Sheila
Gideon, Richard Forcucci, Catherine Jackson, Sylvia M. Zante, Charlene E.
Clark, Marvin L. Hanson, Ralph Shelton, Jr., Ida Wiedal, Galen L. Peachey,
Gayle P. Snyder, James L. Case, Gloria D. Kellum, Joseph B. Zimmermen, and
Michelle Ferketic, ex officio.