Updated: May 11
A comprehensive evaluation is going to help us treat the patient and not just the symptom. All too frequently, medical treatment places too much focus on the complaint. With a comprehensive evaluation, we may find other areas of concern but ultimately we are looking at the orofacial complex as these symptoms or complaints are all coming from one body. To truly understand what is happening with the orofacial complex, we need to assess the function and structures of the oral cavity, tongue, lips, cheeks, and jaw. We need to assess overall feeding skill, and not just how much the patient is eating. Similarly, we learn more about the patient’s past through a detailed medical history and through observation of their posture, body at rest, and reports on how they sleep.
Ultimately there are a hierarchy of skills that are needed before we can truly target and have long term success with speech and articulation. We need to achieve correct oral resting posture, nasal breathing, address food aversions, resolve noxious habits, address oral range of motion and strength, and correct swallowing skills before we can target articulation.