Orofacial Myofunctional Disorder in Individuals with Down Syndrome

Children/adults diagnosed with Down Syndrome are at risk for OMD (orofacial myofunctional disorders). OMD can affect the resting mouth posture of the child, feeding, oral placement skills, and speech. Child with OMD benefit most for tactile therapies including myofunctional therapy and oral placement therapy (OPT).

In 1997, Sara Rosenfeld-Johnson identified the myths of Down syndrome. This included: a high narrow palatal vault, (Myth #1), tongue protrusion (#2), mild to moderate conductive hearing loss (#3), chronic upper respiratory infections (#4), mouth breathing (#5), habitual open mouth posture (#6), and finally, the impression that the child’s tongue is too big for its mouth (#7) (Rosenfeld-Johnson, 1997). The reason Sara referred to these issues as myths, is because clinical evidence suggests that these issues can be prevented and/or improved by therapeutic intervention. For example, Sara Rosenfeld-Johnson presented case studies at the American Speech and Hearing Association annual convention, highlighting improvements in an adult patient with Down syndrome with one month of OPT (Rosenfeld-Johnson, 2014).

Therapeutic intervention can occur in four different ways including: oral sensory motor therapy, feeding therapy, oral placement therapy, and myofunctional therapy. These variety of therapies should be implemented to target interdental lisp, teeth grinding, reverse swallow pattern (tongue thrust), low jaw posture, and anterior resting posture of the tongue.

As always our therapists are trained in Myofunctional therapy and implement oral motor exercises to correct the issues mentioned above.

Jessica Dayan MS-CF-SLP-TSSLD


Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders in Individuals with a Diagnosis of Down Syndrome. (2015, June 25). Retrieved September 14, 2015.


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