Tag: myofunctional disorders

Tongue-Ties across the Ages

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Yes, tongue tie is a real thing, and for some, it is very painful.  The scientific term for a tongue tie is ankyloglossia, or restricted movement of the tongue.  A tie can occur in the anterior (front) or posterior (back) of the tongue. You may be surprised to learn that 10-20% of the population born in the United States have a tongue tie.    If you suspect a tongue tie, you should consult with a professional (speech language pathologist, dentist, ENT, pediatrician) to assess and determine the need for intervention.  There are many consequences of an untreated tongue tie that effect a person differently across the lifespan.

BABIES

Very often, I will do a speech and language consultation and the parent will tell me “Johnny had a difficult time latching when I tried to breastfeed him”.  Breastfeeding is very difficult for a baby with tongue tie.  Due to the restrictions of the child’s frenum, the tongue is unable to make the necessary movements, such as cupping, to latch and breast feed.  This causes stress not just for the baby, but also for the mother, who was looking forward to this important bonding experience for her child.  At this stage, it is very important to receive input from a lactation consultant, speech language pathologist, or a pediatric ENT or Dentist trained in tongue-tie detection.  For a list of trusted providers, you can consult the resources provided by the International Association of Tongue Tie Professionals.

TODDLERS

Now your baby is a toddler.  Either no one has picked up on the tongue tie, or you have decided not to have surgical intervention.  At this point, your child is learning to speak.  Due to restricted movements, you may find that your toddler is having difficulty forming a lot of sounds, or that what he is saying does not sound clear (although you know what he is saying!) Other issues may include difficulty accepting a wide variety of foods.  Having a tongue tie means that it is more troublesome for the tongue to move food back and forth in the mouth, a necessary movement for handling more complicated textures (i.e. meats, some vegetables). Now that your child is more receptive, it may be possible to do certain exercises to help lengthen the frenum and allow for more movement.  However, if the child does not respond to this type of intervention, it is important to consult with a professional about possible surgical intervention to prevent further difficulties from occurring.

 

SCHOOL-AGED CHILDREN

Your child has now figured out to eat and speak and it is time to go to school.  Although your child is bright and has a large vocabulary, he may have difficulty producing some sounds (/ch, sh, j, s, z/) because the restricted tongue is unable to make consistent contact with the upper portion of the mouth.  Speech therapy can be done at this point to correct the production of the sound, but the child may continue to have a “functional lisp” because the tongue is not reaching exactly where it needs to be.  Further, a restricted frenum may cause your tongue to block your airway, causing sleep disturbances and attention issues (see my previous post for more information on how sleep effects attention.  It is important to speak to your speech language pathologist at this time for a referral to further assess for ankyloglossia.

YOUNG ADULTS/ADULTS

At this point, you have no doubt learned to live with your tongue tie and the thought of having a piece of your tongue snipped is scary.  Did you know, however, that a restricted frenum may make you a bad kisser?!  This information is always helpful in convincing my more reluctant teen clients to go through with the procedure.

Check back next week for more information on Tongue Tie, and an interview with my client who had a frenectomy (tongue tie surgery) 2 months ago and is already reaping the benefits! Sign up for the mailing list so that you can see it first.

For more information on assessment and treatment of ankyloglossia (tongue-tie), contact me!

Everybody Does It, Nobody Talks About It!

 

It is a well known fact that humans need to sleep.  It should not be a surprise to you that in our fast-paced, go-get-em world, we do not get enough of it.   According to the Center of Disease Control, close to 40% of adults aged over 16 years old reported that they get less than the minimum of 7 hours of sleep each night.  The same statistic is true for children, who require a much longer amount of sleep–around 12-14 hours for preschoolers and 11-12 hours for children in elementary school.  So, just what exactly are the risks of sleep deprivation?

Recently, there was an article in the New York Times which pointed to lack of sleep as a possible culprit for the overabundance of ADHD in children.  In adults, lack of sleep leads to excessive yawning, sleepiness, and sometimes falling asleep on the job.  In children, however, the effect is quite the opposite.  Children who receive less than the recommended 12 hours of shut-eye each night tend to be hyperactive, and sometimes even aggressive.  In the classroom, these kids are the ones who cannot sit still for the entirety of the lesson.  At times, they are disruptive to the rest of the class.  Their less than optimal sleep schedule puts them at risk for being (wrongly) diagnosed with a learning disability.
With school just around the corner, it is a great time to get your children on a solid sleep schedule so that they can have the most success this coming school year.

Maintain a Daily Sleep Schedule

Life is hectic, and with young children, there is always something going on!  Try to make bedtime a consistent routine for your family.  Bedtime is a great way to bond with your child by discovering a new favorite book.  To begin with, get children into their routine 30-45 minutes before their actual bed time so that they have time to relax (and ask for a 2nd book!)

Limit Electronics

There is a time and a place for technology.  The bedroom is not one of them.  Limit video games to 2 hours before bedtime, and if possible, eliminate the television, computers, cell phones and other electronics for your child’s bedroom.  By eliminating the light transmitted from these devices, children will have an easier time falling asleep.

Eliminate Caffeine

If properly fueled by sleep, children do not need external energy!

Make it Cozy

The bedroom should be a place your child wants to go to to relax after a long and tiring day.  Make sure the bedroom is dark, quiet, and cool by covering windows with opaque curtains and by running fans and heaters to maintain an optimal temperature.

By setting the foundation early, you will put your child on a path to success both at school and at home.

For more information on Childhood Sleep Disorders, visit Kids Sleep Disorders Awareness.

 

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