Wednesday, 28 April 2010

That Tongue!

One characteristic of people with Down's Syndrome is the larger tongue which can protrude. You can assist your child to keep their tongue in in many ways.

Firstly, improve the muscle tone of the tongue by introducing little exercises - touching the tongue to the upper and lower lips and side to side. If they are unwilling to do this, you can make it more interesting by smearing a little something tasty around the mouth - a few chocolate sprinkles or some jam work wonders! Brush the tongue gently with a soft toothbrush - this stimulates blood flow and the muscles.

When your child is small, just gently poke the tongue back in the mouth with your (clean!) finger and perhaps tell them quietly to put their tongue away. Don't make a big issue about it, just turn it into something you do as a matter of course throughout the day.

Mouth exercises also help towards speech development. A tongue that is better controlled will mean clearer speech when the time comes. When your child is slightly older, introduce little games such as blowing through a straw to make bubbles, blowing a feather into the air, drinking through a straw, making funny noises - 'ooooooo-eeeeeee-aaaarrr' - singing Old MacDonald works well for that one!

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