Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy Program

Orofacial myofunctional therapy (OMT) addresses the oral structures (lips, tongue, jaw, cheeks and palate) and their impact on swallowing skills and oral rest posture. OMT is based on the neuromuscular re-education or re-patterning of the oral and facial muscles, and includes facial exercises and behavior modification techniques to promote proper tongue position, improved breathing, chewing and swallowing.  Incorrect chewing and swallowing and/or incorrect tongue position may have a negative effect on your child’s:

  • Dental alignment and dental development
  • Ability to sleep effectively
  • Ability to breathe effectively
  • Feeding skills such as ability to move food around in the mouth
  • Development of oral muscles and facial muscles
  • Speech skills
  • Oral hygiene (bad breath, cavities)
  • Social interactions (open mouth breathing, tongue out of mouth, drooling)
Common signs of an orofacial myofunctional disorder include:
  • Difficulty breathing through the nose due to allergies, enlarged tonsils, or enlarged adenoids
  • Tongue tie
  • Open mouth breathing
  • Narrow roof of mouth (palate)
  • Forward tongue movement during speech and/or swallowing

Additional issues that may contribute to an orofacial myofunctional disorder include:

  • Prolonged pacifier use
  • Prolonged thumb, finger or tongue sucking

Your dentist or orthodontist may identify these signs during a routine office visit and may recommend an orofacial myofunctional evaluation.

Our OMT specialists are trained in the evaluation and treatment of swallowing and orofacial myofunctional disorders.

What to Expect at an Evaluation

During the evaluation, our OMT specialists will assess the strength and movement of your child’s lips, tongue, jaw, cheeks and palate. In addition, they will evaluate your child’s ability to chew food, move food around in their mouth, and swallow food and liquids. They may also evaluate your child’s speech skills if needed. You may bring your own food and drink, or food can be provided.

Pictures and video of your child will be taken as part of the evaluation as a baseline of their oral structure and skills. Pictures and video are kept private and confidential.

Here are some questions you might be asked at the evaluation:

  • Does your child snore?
  • Is your child a picky, messy, slow or fast eater? Do they avoid certain foods?
  • Does eating seem like a lot of work for your child?
  • Does your child have any behaviors during mealtimes?
  • Is your child self-conscious of their eating or speech?
  • Have you seen an orthodontist? 
  • Does your child have an open mouth while eating?
  • Is your child’s mouth open often during the day?

After the evaluation is completed, the OMT specialist will analyze and review all the testing results and discuss the results with you. The evaluation will determine if there is a need for therapy and if any other referrals are needed.

Our OMT specialists work closely with the following departments to determine the best treatment plan for your child:

Make an Appointment

If you’re concerned that your child may have an orofacial myofunctional disorder, an evaluation with an OMT specialist is recommended.

To schedule an appointment, first obtain an order or referral from your primary care physician and then call 1.800.543.7362 (1.800.KIDS DOC) to schedule an orofacial myofunctional evaluation. Should specific questions arise, families are welcome to contact the Department of Speech-Language Pathology at 312.227.6320 or by e-mail at speechdepartment@luriechildrens.org.

Contact Us

To learn more about orofacial myofunctional therapy services at Lurie Children’s, please call us at 312.227.6320 or e-mail us at speechdepartment@luriechildrens.org and ask to be connected with one of our OMT specialists. 


Learn more about our specialists