What Is Oral placement therapy (opt)?
Oral Placement Therapy is a speech therapy which utilizes a combination of: (1) auditory stimulation, (2) visual stimulation and (3) tactile stimulation to the mouth to improve speech clarity.
OPT is an important addition to traditional speech treatment methods for clients with placement and movement deficits.
It is a tactile-proprioceptive teaching technique which accompanies traditional therapy. Traditional therapy is primarily auditory and visual.
Clients with motor and/or sensory impairments benefit from tactile and proprioceptive components because speech is a tactile-proprioceptive act.
OPT is used to improve articulator awareness, placement (dissociation, grading, and direction of movement), stability, and muscle memory; all of these are necessary for the development of speech clarity.
Which clients are concerned?
OPT can be used with clients of many ages and ability levels. It can be incorporated into program plans for many types of speech disorders (e.g., dysarthria, apraxia of speech voice disorders, fluency disorders and post CVA clients, as well as clients with mild-to-profound levels of hearing loss).
Many of the clients who require these techniques have often received traditional auditory and visually based speech facilitation for a number of years, with minimal success. No one is at fault for the client’s difficulty in learning to produce target speech sounds.
Traditional speech facilitation has not been effective with these clients because there may be a movement or placement disorder. So, before introducing any of the OPT techniques, the client’s motor functioning for speech and feeding should be thoroughly assessed
how does it works?
OPT teaches oral structural placement to clients who cannot produce or imitate speech sounds using traditional auditory or visual input. For these clients, it is critical to expand speech sound production from phonemes and other similar oral movements the client can already produce.
Once a client can produce a targeted speech sound using traditional auditory or visual input, speech therapy can progress in a more typical manner.
OPT is only a small part of a comprehensive speech and language program and should not be done in isolation. The activities are carefully selected to stimulate the same movements used in the targeted speech production. They can be completed in under 15 minutes and can be used to refocus attention and concentration from a sensory processing perspective
Evaluations will be comprehensive and will look at the child as a whole. Evgenia Stefanaki will collect the birth history, diagnoses, medical history, developmental milestones, and other relevant family history. From this information, appropriate testing will be determined.
Oral motor, speech and language evaluations are generally two hours in length. During this comprehensive evaluation, we analyze the oral structures as the child moves through his/her environment to determine how sensory and motor deficits are impacting sound production.
ORAL PLACEMENT THERAPY
After the evaluation is completed, an individualized program plan will be developed for your child. The program plan will include specific exercises and goals to address any areas of deficit.
Therapy will combine auditory, tactile, and visual stimulation to help your child produce target sounds. It is often characterized by the use of a therapy tool and/or other tactile proprioceptive techniques to establish a speech sound. The target sounds are immediately transitioned into speech without the therapy tools.
Evgenia Stefanaki, SLP, OM, has the private practice "All for Speech Center" and is a nationally certified and licensed Speech & Language Pathologist. She is also PROMPT© trained, oral-motor & feeding specialist and holds specialization in orofacial myofunctional therapy.