2007 – MORE

Integrating the Mouth with Sensory and Postural Functions

While oral-motor treatment approaches for neurologically impaired children have focused on severe feeding dysfunction, recent clinical work with children who have sensory processing/developmental dysfunction has revealed a strong association between subtle oral-motor and respiratory dysfunction and many sensory integrative and sensorimotor problems.

A theoretical framework for understanding how and why many aspects of development are significantly influenced by oral functions will be presented. This discussion will include the relationship of the suck/swallow/breathe synchrony to behavior, learning, postural development, feeding, communication, arousal, self-regulation, psychosocial development, visual/auditory perception and even common health issues in children. The relevance of this information to treatment principles with children who have sensory processing/developmental dysfunction will then be shared using slides, case examples and participant lab activities. Documentation strategies for identifying abnormal function and demonstrating change through treatment will be provided.


Patti Oetter, MA, OTR/L , FAOTA, member of the Occupational Therapy Association of California and Eileen Richter, MPH, OTR/L, member of the Minnesota Occupational Therapy Association