Hi, I am an SLP in CA. I am married to a dentist and over the past five years I have been trying to focus my practice on OM therapy out of the dental office. I find it difficult to convince orthodontists that speech therapy is the best form of treatment for their patients with tongue thrust. For some reason, maybe it’s because of the money, but they usually just place an appliance and convince the parents that it is the best and fastest way to fix the tongue thrust. I’m wondering if you can help me find a way to get referrals from orthodontists. How do I convince them? Also is it possible and/or effective to do oral myofunctional therapy on a patient with lateral ortho cleats placed on the lingual surface of the anterior top teeth? I really admire all your work and I have learned from your website. Thank you in advance. M.S. CCC-SLP
Have you taken the 28 hour course from anyone? In my course, I cover this at the beginning with participant “challenges”… and what I teach them all immediately is that standard speech therapy is not an effective means to help tongue thrust patients. Thus, you don’t want to promote speech therapists in general as being specialized in orofacial myology since we SLPs are rarely if ever trained in this specialty area as a normal course of education. That is why ASHA put out position papers describing the background and training that is expected before working with oral myofunctional therapy clients (aka, “tongue thrust”). ASHA also has an orofacial myology portal for SLPs to use as the standard. To stand out among others and to draw respect from orthodontists, you will want to differentiate yourself as being an orofacial myologist in addition to a CCC-SLP. That is how I marketed myself from the beginning. I am a Qualified Orofacial Myologist who also happens to be a speech pathologist. Otherwise, orthodontists (and other medical/speech/dental professionals) would send to any SLP that is close by if they don’t understand the process and the benefits of referring to such a trained specialist. In fact, they may have already done so and found that the therapist was unable to treat their patients effectively. They will be more reluctant to place “habit appliances” if they know that there is a highly trained, skilled certified orofacial myologist to whom to send their patients. There is a position statement related to such appliances which can also be shared with the referral sources. It can be found at https://orofacialmyology.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/orofacial-myology-position-statement-of-the-iaom-regarding-appliance-use-for-oral-habit-patterns.pdf Regarding the wisdom of offering treatment with the cleats in place, I would have to know what the patient was able to demonstrate during the thorough oral exam. I would probably be able to work around the cleats initially, picking and choosing carefully from my Myo Manual exercise selections. I would maximize all functions up to the point where therapy was compromised by the cleats (if at all), give maintenance treatment at that point, and then proceed once again when it makes sense to restart. There are, of course, other marketing tools that can be used, some which require time to educate the possible referral sources such as Q & A brochures or sending the position papers from our website to the orthodontist and meeting to discuss them, and perhaps even directing them to this blog to help inform them of the various issues that are inter-related and why a specialist can be very desirable in diagnosing and treating many types of patients. I wish you great success and hope to hear from you again.