Suburban Myofunctional Therapy Clinic

Christine Stevens Mills BS, SLP, COM

IAOM Certified Orofacial Myologist

Speach Language Pathologist

Attention!!

Health Care Professionals

Enhance your professional skills with additional expertise and broaden your marketability

Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders  A  to Z

CEU's available

For Additional Information

and Current Class Dates

classes@suburbanmft.com

or

suburbanmft.com/classes

 

Two Thumbs Up Therapy Program

Individuals are referred to this clinic for thumb/finger sucking problems for a variety of reasons.

Preventive Dentists want the elimination of the thumb sucking to reestablish natural growth and development of the orofacial structure.

The Orthodontist wants the pressure the thumb exerts on the teeth eliminated because the thumb exerts a force in the opposite direction the Doctor is trying to move the teeth, the speech pathologist refers so the tongue can have the correct spring off point for proper articulation.

Also, a chronic thumb sucking problem can be a contributor to a low forward rest posture of the tongue and a tongue thrust. If the thumb sucking is not eliminated the tongue thrust will remain.

The initial visit is to ascertain the Who - What - When - Where - Why of their thumb sucking problem and if a program is needed. If elimination of the thumb sucking pattern is advisable the therapy will encompass conscious awareness, motivation, positive reinforcement and a mini reward system. Elimination of the thumb sucking habit generally occurs within ten days and or nights respectively.

I believe there are three important elements required to be an accomplished and effective Myo-Functional Therapist

DESIRE, AWARENESS, and EDUCATION

DESIRE - having the desire and drive to do my best for this client/patient that is possible.

AWARENESS - in being aware that every client/patient should be treated with respect, compassion, and understanding.

EDUCATION - not only continuing my education through classes, and reading but by teaching, attending conventions, learning from colleagues, and seeking out professionals regarding new techniques, advancement in our profession as well as advancement in associated professions.

A thumb tastes best

at room temperature!

 

Thumb or finger sucking is a very common and normal activity for infants and toddlers. Many children stop the behavior with little or no intervention by their parents. However, the sucking activity that persists beyond the age of five can be a source of significant, and often preventable, dental and speech problems, as well, as difficulties with the learning and socialization process.

  • Timing - When to Initiate Treatment

    Timing is a very important consideration for successful treatment. It makes sense to help youngsters overcome their thumb or finger sucking pattern as soon as possible if noticeable problems begin to appear. You may see noticeable problems developing such as dental and or speech problems. Many children become emotionally dependent on the activity to relieve stress, and the longer the pattern persists, the more difficult it is to overcome. However, it is important that emotional and intellectual development is sufficient to enable the child to succeed with the task, minimize frustration, and facilitate effective communication and motivation. This development is generally adequate at age five. Because stress is a significant stimulant for the sucking activity, careful deliberation must be given to picking a time to eliminate the pattern when child and parent are not experiencing excessive stress or change in their lives. Events such as the arrival of a new sibling, a family move, starting kindergarten or a new school is just a few examples of situations that can create stress and anxiety. Treatment to eliminate thumb or finger sucking patterns is best initiated soon after the child reaches the age of five, before the arrival of permanent teeth, and prior to beginning kindergarten to avoid the development of other detrimental oral patterns, as well as, learning and socialization problems related to the behavior.

  • Thumb sucking - What Age to Stop?

    Timing is a very important consideration for successful treatment. It makes sense to help youngsters overcome their thumb or finger sucking pattern as soon as possible if noticeable problems begin to appear. You may see noticeable problems developing such as dental and or speech problems. Many children become emotionally dependent on the activity to relieve stress, and the longer the pattern persists, the more difficult it is to overcome. However, it is important that emotional and intellectual development is sufficient to enable the child to succeed with the task, minimize frustration, and facilitate effective communication and motivation. This development is generally adequate at age five. Because stress is a significant stimulant for the sucking activity, careful deliberation must be given to picking a time to eliminate the pattern when child and parent are not experiencing excessive stress or change in their lives. Events such as the arrival of a new sibling, a family move, starting kindergarten or a new school is just a few examples of situations that can create stress and anxiety. Treatment to eliminate thumb or finger sucking patterns is best initiated soon after the child reaches the age of five, before the arrival of permanent teeth, and prior to beginning kindergarten to avoid the development of other detrimental oral patterns, as well as, learning and socialization problems related to the behavior.

  • Questions a Professional Orofacial Myologist (therapist) Must Ask?

    Does this child need to stop thumb/digit sucking?

    Is there a developing malocclusion-open bite, excessive overjet, crossbite?

    Is there open mouth rest posture of the lips? Is there low forward rest posture of the tongue?

    Are speech problems evident - interdental /s/ lisp, /t/, /d/, /n/,/l/, misarticulation?

    Is there difficulty in carryover of speech patterns to conversational speech?

    Is there a high narrow arched palate? Is the sucking strong enough to cause calluses on the sucking thumb/digit?

    Is the thumb-sucking contributing to being ridiculed, harassed, embarrassed?

    Is the child's thumb-sucking in school affecting class participation, less interaction, literally tuning out everything going on around him which can overtime impede his learning?

    Has the child expressed interest in eliminating his thumb-sucking?

    If the answer to all or some of these questions is yes then it is time to consider the elimination of the thumb sucking pattern.

  • What is the Parent's Role in this Treatment Approach?

    Parents are not required to enforce their child's compliance with this program. Their role is simply one of an empathetic and positive support system. The program is designed to motivate children to want to participate in the program and, most importantly, accept responsibility for discontinuing their thumb/finger-sucking pattern.

    The program generally involves a weekly visit for a month. If the individual needs more time to build up confidence I will continue to see them for a few weeks until they are confident they no longer need my support.

  • What is Positive Behavior Modification?

    A trained, third-party can be very beneficial towards helping children discontinue their thumb or finger-sucking patterns through positive behavior modification. This is a special motivational program designed to address all aspects of the thumb-or finger sucking activity to help children discontinue the behavior quickly and without coercion. Constant reminding, nagging, critical and/or punitive attempts to eliminate the pattern often compound the problem and stimulate-more-sucking. The goal of this highly successful program is to help children in a fun, POSITIVE way so they benefit not only in their dental and speech development, but also in their own self-esteem and self-confidence.

Thumb & Finger Sucking Patterns Help With a Positive Approach

 

Two Thumbs Up Motivational Kit

This kit provides parents with tools and instructions that will help in eliminating thumb/finger sucking by utilizing a fun, creative, positive approach.

The purpose of this kit is to provide parents with motivational tools that will help organize and begin a Positive Successful Thumb Sucking Program.

This kit is for participants in a structured thumb program initiated and guided by a professional

 

 

 

Testimonials

Once a thumb sucking program is finished I ask the parents of the thumb sucking graduate to complete

 a questionnaire to provide me feedback on their impressions of the program. Following is a sample of their feedback

 

With all feedback and testimonials therapy results may vary.

 

Suburban Myofunctional Therapy Clinic

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International Association of Orofacial Myology

 

The IAOM certified orofacial myologist is specifically trained to diagnose and treat orofacial myofunctional disorders. These abnormal tongue patterns can contribute to changes in natural growth and development which may lead to a malocclusion and complicate speech problems. The orofacial myologist is also trained to eliminate thumb-finger (digit) sucking habits which can contribute to multiple problems.