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  • Writer's pictureMarcia Campagna

The Misconception of the Down Syndrome Face

Ya'll know I love to learn and as I take another course in Oral Placement Therapy, I've made another connection... The "Down Syndrome Look" is just a myth. Read about "The Oral-Motor Myths of Down Syndrome" here.

Many of us think of Down Syndrome or low tone faces to include the "Acquired Functional Deficits in Down Syndrome" listed below:

  • Inter-dental tongue posture

  • Conductive hearing loss

  • Upper Respiratory Problems

  • Open Mouth

  • Mouth Breathing

  • Large Tongue

  • High, narrow palatal vault

Occasionally, we forget to look at the consequences of our choices. We slap a band aid on symptom without thinking about long term consequences. We forget to look at the body as a dynamic system that is interconnected and cannot be compartmentalized into areas.

I was mesmerized by Sara Rosenfeld-Johnson's talk. I realized that our goal is to prevent all of these symptoms above within the first year of life just by changing our feeding suggestions and thinking about the physiology of the mouth. We can set up Moms of newborns and infants for successful breastfeeding and/or bottle feeding goals. We can set up toddlers for successful cup, chewing, and other feeding goals.

Our goal isn't just weight gain alone, as most other healthcare providers, but it is weight gain that creates positive developmental growth of the face and mouth without the side effects of a tongue thrust, ear infections, breathing issues, open mouth posture, low-forward tongue posture, and a high narrow palate. This positive developmental growth of the face will help with respiration, swallowing, and speaking as your child grows.

You see I had a mom who called... She called about her three year old child who has Down Syndrome and she's worried because he's not talking... So I asked her about feeding... Mom had no concerns... So I went on to ask about muscle tone and open mouth chewing...

What you see in the body is what you see in the mouth... If you see low tone in the body, there's low tone in the mouth. The muscles we use for speaking are the same muscles we use for feeding and in respiration as well.

Finally, Mom made the connection... She says... no one has ever worked on his facial and tongue muscles... and so she made an appointment for an early feeding/orofacial myofunctional evaluation.

At Best Speech Therapy, we work with patients of all ages. I strongly believe in early intervention. Before the age of 3, we can re-create connections among the neural pathways to support positive development and oral motor skills needed for respiration, feeding, swallowing, and speech.

Book an appointment today by calling 214-997-1106 now or email us:

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