Oral Motor Skills

When should I choose this Area of Focus for my Gabadoo?

Oral motor skills include awareness, strength, co-ordination, movement and endurance of the mouth, jaw, tongue, cheeks and lips. Oral motor skills lay the foundation for feeding related tasks such as sucking, licking, biting and chewing. 

Oral motor difficulties can affect the way your child manipulates food in their mouth, how they can drink through a straw & the clarity and accuracy of their speech. If your child has decreased/low muscle tone, they may also have some oral motor difficulties which might cause excessive dribbling, poor lip closure and difficulty moving and chewing foods. 

Our Gabadoo Team are experienced at working with children with oral motor difficulties & we can support you through an individualised Gaba Plan.

Important to Note:

If you are only looking for support around your child's oral sensory needs or oral seeking behaviours, there is a separate area of focus for sensory processing. You can read a blog about this area of focus here to see if it is more appropriate for your Gabadoo.

There is also a separate area of focus for feeding & mealtimes if your are looking for guidance around your child's ability to tolerate and manage different textured foods. You can read a blog about this area of focus here to see if it is more appropriate for your Gabadoo. 

What information do I need to include in my Gabadoo?

As our Gabadoo Team have never met your family before and know nothing about your child, they can only provide strategies based on the information you provide so be very detailed!

After you have filled in the relevant information in your Gabadoo, go through this checklist to make sure you have included the following:

Family & Home Life:

Description of your family & the structure of your family including siblings, pets or any extended family who are living in your home.

The space available within your house and outside spaces including a garden, farm or playgrounds. Be descriptive in relation to the room where meal-times take place. 

Your daily routine including the times of meal-times, bed-times, school hours, drop offs, child-care etc. 

Strengths and Interests:

What does your child like to do?

What games, toys, T.V. programs, characters do they like?

What type of activities do they enjoy?

What are some of their sensory preferences (e.g. swinging, tickling, climbing, cuddling, music, singing)?

Do they respond to praise from adults? 

Additional Information:

What class is your child in at school?

What type of schooling do they receive? i.e. homeschooling, mainstream N.S., gaelscoil, preschool, ASD class, Special School. 

Have you seen any professionals in the past in relation to their oral motor skills? Or has your child ever had a medical review in relation to their oral motor skills? If so, what was the outcome?

What have you tried before to work on this skill? i.e. intervention, programmes, strategies, courses, books, equipment or toys purchased etc.

Make sure to include:

Detailed observations of how your child's oral motor skills is impacting on function i.e. dribbling, unable to understand speech, difficulty chewing etc. 

Provide a brief description of your child's level of speech and language.

Does your child have to use any specific cups, spoons or straws during meal-times?

Provide an overview of your child's diet. Are there certain textures they like or dislike?

What skills would you like support around? What level is your child currently at with this skill? e.g. my child can suck through a straw etc.

What would you like to gain from this Gabadoo? What are some of your goals?

Next include videos and images of your child and their environment:

  • A variety of video-clips where your child is engaging in different tasks that require oral motor skills is incredibly helpful for our team e.g. using a straw, spoon, eating, blowing, making facial expressions, babbling/making sounds or speaking. Capture both their whole posture and then close-up videos of their face from the front and the side. 

Remember: The more information you give our team, the more individualised and relevant your plan will be. Videos are vital when reviewing a child's oral motor skills. 

What support will I receive for my child?

Your information will be reviewed by one of our Gabadoo Experts who is experienced in the area of 'oral motor skills'. They will detail individualised strategies, activities, next steps and helpful organisations and products that you can use at home to support your child. 

So, I'm ready to do my Gabadoo, what's my 'Area of Focus'


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