orofacial myofunctional disorder, orofacial myofunctional therapy, evidence-based practice, tethered oral tissue, dysphagia, feeding, scope of practice


Purpose: The purposes of this paper are to 1) define variations in terminology and treatment methodology for orofacial myofunctional disorders (OMDs) in children 0-4 years of age and in special populations, and 2) compare and contrast service delivery models for children ages 0-4 and individuals with special needs versus older children and children who are neurotypical. Method: A literature review of scholarly articles, professional presentations, poster presentations, blogs, and social media were analyzed using three tiers of evidence-based practice to include: 1) clinical expertise/expert opinion; 2) external and internal evidence and 3) client/patient/caregiver perspectives. Results: Professional texts and publications used consistent language when discussing treatment of OMDs in young children and children with special needs. Terminology and treatment approaches for young children and/or children with special needs who present with OMDs were inconsistent in social media and professional presentations. Discussion: The treatment modalities used in orofacial myofunctional therapy to stimulate oral motor responses depend upon age and cognitive status. OMDs should certainly be treated in infants, young children and individuals with special needs according to the methods of the pediatric feeding specialist. Orofacial myofunctional therapy requires volitional control and self-monitoring; as such, it is contraindicated for infants and toddlers as well as those individuals who cannot actively engage in therapeutic techniques.