Over the past few years I have had SO many questions about treating tongue thrust. I have come to the realization that training on tongue thrust treatment is lacking in many speech and language pathology graduate programs. I was SUPER LUCKY to be given multiple tongue thrust therapy clients while in graduate school where I was given guidance by my supervisors to administer treatment. Then, during one of my externships I was also lucky to work alongside an SLP that was also highly trained in delivering tongue thrust therapy. I am so grateful for these experiences because they really helped prepare me for delivering this type of therapy in my private practice.
It wasn’t long after I began my private practice that I received a phone call from a mother who was looking for someone to treat her daughter’s tongue thrust. She had recently taken her daughter to an orthodontist for braces, and in their initial meeting the orthodontist discovered she had a tongue thrust. He recommended that she get her tongue thrust treated before he put on her braces because he didn’t want her thrust pushing her teeth right back out of alignment after. The mother searched online for a speech therapist and found me.
I happily agreed to work with the woman’s daughter and began therapy with her. After the daughter completed her treatment I released her and she returned to her orthodontist. I soon received a phone call from her orthodontist who wanted to know who I was and what I had done to treat the girl. He explained to me (with permission from the family) that he had an x-ray of the daughter’s teeth from a few months before, and had given her another x-ray after she completed my program. He was completely blown away. The daughter’s teeth had changed so significantly, he had thought that he had messed up the patient’s records. He couldn’t believe it was the same individual. He said that he no longer even planned to put braces on her, because after her thrust was eliminated, her teeth relaxed back into their natural state and she no longer needed them.
I was so glad to help that family and I loved treating the girl. I knew treating tongue thrust could help eliminate speech problems, and could assist the orthodontic process, but I didn’t know that it could completely eliminate the need for braces. Obviously all treatment cases and individuals are different, but this news was really exciting to me. Needless to say, the orthodontist was completely sold on the treatment and has sent me many, many clients since that day.
Due to the great number of referrals from this specific orthodontist and others in my area, I have had a great deal of practice treating tongue thrust. It is through this practice I have developed a streamlined technique, in which I have really come to understand how the tongue works, what a swallow should look like, how to guide a client through the treatment process, etc. And I have developed a love for treating tongue thrust because it is probably the quickest and most effective treatment I offer.
So… after developing a love for treating tongue thrust, and after receiving so many questions about treating tongue thrust, AND after perfecting my technique over the last few years, I have decided to put together a program that helps other therapists deliver this therapy themselves.
The program is called BUST the THRUST. If you follow my blog then you have heard me talk about this program before. The app is still in progress (stay tuned) but until then I have put all of the content on a web based program.
The Bust the Thrust treatment program is designed to be used under the direction of a certified Speech Language Pathologist. In using this program, a Speech Language Pathologist will be able to evaluate and treat irregular open-mouth postures, speech sound errors, and swallowing disorders associated with tongue thrust. The program teaches clients to increase the awareness of their mouth, facial muscles, and tongue postures. Clients are taught techniques to improve their muscle strength and coordination. Most importantly, through this program, a client’s oral musculature is retrained to produce a correct and mature swallow pattern free of any thrust movement or pressure.
The program provides an informal assessment to help determine if a tongue thrust exists and/or the severity level of a tongue thrust. The program offers weekly therapy session guidelines. Each weekly guideline contains multiple exercises to be taught by the Speech Language Pathologist to a client on a consistent weekly basis. The client then practices the exercises throughout the week, tracking their practice on the exercise worksheets. There are videos, written descriptions, and tips provided to ensure the exercises are taught and practiced correctly.
The week 1 exercises, descriptions, videos, and worksheets are provided freely to all visitors of the Bust the Thrust site. To access the contents for the remaining weeks of the program, a subscription fee is required. 3 subscription plans are offered: (1) 3 months for $49.99, (2) 12 months for $149.99, and (3) lifetime membership for $499.99. The 3 month subscription provides adequate time for treatment for one individual. The 12 month subscription gives flexible access for therapists, school districts, and/or businesses who may wish to treat multiple individuals during a 12 month span. The lifetime membership gives unlimited and indefinite access for therapists, school districts, and/or businesses who will be providing ongoing tongue thrust therapy.
Good Luck, and as always, let me know if you have any questions.