At some point during growth, most children suck their thumbs for comfort. Parents expect their baby will find his/her thumb and self-soothe; however, the effects of thumb sucking on the child’s speech is not. For some children with oral myofunctional disorder, eliminating their habit to suck on their thumb through speech therapy exercises helps improve their expression over time. With help from the Speech Source Therapy staff and their parents, children can reduce their dependence on their thumb and improve their speech.
For many children, finding another activity or behavior to replace sucking their thumb will help eliminate the habit. Redirecting their attention towards a safer oral fidget will positively influence the change needed to improve their articulation.
Alternative Coping Mechanisms
Children who depend on thumb sucking for comfort or to self-soothe when feeling stress need an alternative to cope. Many children find a soft toy, favorite blanket, or other fidgeting techniques helpful in dealing with anxiety or stress. Parents can discuss soothing options with the staff at Speech Source Therapy to determine which alternative coping mechanisms are best for their child.
Use Straws for Drinking
While using a straw doesn’t help to deter thumb sucking, it can encourage the tongue to retract and the cheeks to tighten. In time, this practice can help with oral myofunctional disorder.
At Speech Source Therapy, our staff understands the importance of helping your child have the best speech practices possible. If you would like to learn more about how we can help your child eliminate thumb sucking or improve his/her speech, please contact us at SFV: (818) 788-4121 or LA: (213) 493-6698.