Do Oral Motor Activities Really Improve a Toddler's Speech?
Many speech language therapists insist on developing oral motor exercises in order to improve a child’s speech and speaking skills. Speech therapists may suggest little activities like blowing bubbles, sucking a straw, facial and isometric exercises.
But, there are a few who argue about the exercises suggested by speech language therapists. They say that there is no scientific evidence to the fact that these exercises improve a child’s speech.
So, do oral motor activities really improve a toddler’s speech?
Do Oral Motor Activities Really Improve a Toddler’s Speech?: Dr.Gregory Lof, a speech pathologist from Boston believes that that the oral motor activities do not really improve the way in a child moulds his speech. He even has a published work that scientifically proves all the oral motor activities a waste of time.
Dr. Lof states that all the oral motor exercises are related to developing muscle strength and any effort put on improving the muscle strength does not really help children improve their speaking ability. This is because, the child is performing a physical form of exercise without actually uttering any kind of speech. So, logically no speech related activity is being performed.
Dr.Lof also argues that the lack of fun in these exercises would also put toddlers off. Maybe, initially they would hang around with you performing these activities (not longer than a minute though). But, soon enough they would move away from them due to the difficulty and the boredom involved.
Dr.Lof also reveals that according to a survey, almost 85 percent speech language therapists in America are suggesting these oral motor activities. These activities are prescribed for severe speech disorders resulting from dysarthria to young toddlers in the same monotonic way.
The argument that Dr.Lof is trying to bring is speech improvement can only be done by doing a speech related exercise, which is talking. Non-speech related exercises, in this case the oral motor activities are not producing any kind of speech as part of the exercise.