Below is an email I received from a concerned mom. I’m grateful that my name and OMT is getting out there but before I reply, can I get your suggestion because I don’t want her to feel discouraged. I don’t think I’m capable of helping with a client this young and with special needs, or am I?
Here is what she wrote to me:
We had an at birth diagnosis of Downs Syndrome, she is now 4.5 months, no real health issues , feeding/sleeping all on target and she has strong muscle tone. The only thing I’m monitoring is her tongue protrusion, and open jaw stance. I also think she has a suspected lip tie that I want confirming.
I’ve done a large amount of research and have been exploring TalkTools and various methods of early intervention to help speech/eating as she gets older. I came across Orofacial Myology therapy etc , so just wanted to reach out to get an idea of the treatment/services. If it makes sense to do a call you can reach me anytime on xxx xxxxx.
Thanks in advance for your help and always being there. J
So good to hear from you and I, too, am glad people are seeking myo help from you and others. There is not much more we can do as orofacial myologists with a baby, even one who has no syndrome or other conditions, so you are correct in your assumption.
The best we can do as orofacial myologists would be the following:
1. If you are confident in being able to diagnose ankyloglossia in such a young baby, that is one possibility; otherwise, try to suggest someone who is able to do it.
2. Explain to the mother why it is necessary and normal for a baby with Down Syndrome to have the open mouth, tongue forward position. We explained this in class and you can also search on our website with keywords to review. Go to https://orofacialmyology.com and into the search bar put Down Syndrome and read all that comes up and that will be a big help for you, J.
I am also here if you have additional questions.
In this instance, the internet might have been a downfall for the mom since she is reading a conglomeration of information that does not all “go together” and might not clarify the ages, the type of therapy that is appropriate in various situations, etc. Her best bet is to stick with a speech pathologist with background in oral motor and language and provide the baby with as much as can be provided and as early as possible. But that will not be orofacial myology but rather specialized areas of speech therapy that not every speech therapist can address.