When we are first born, we begin right away integrating our reflexes and developing our musculature for speech production skills. Speech is produced with having adequate jaw control (and gradation..or the way it moves up and down), lip closure and strength and tongue retraction and protrusion. All of these skills are practiced while we suck, swallow, chew, lateralize our tongue to put food on the side of our mouth, lick our lips, take food off of a spoon, etc. We need to have these skills practiced while we feel safe, calm and protected so that reflexes will not try to protect us and cause defensiveness. If our reflexes are not integrated, we will develop food aversions, gagging, vomiting, etc while we eat. This greatly inhibits children developmentally!
If you have any concerns about your child’s feeding skills or speech development, contact laura@familytreetherapies or call at 616-447-7799 and set up your evaluation today!