Ask A Therapist: Oral Placement Therapy for Teachers


I work in an inner city school with significant deprivation.

Many of the children have speech and language difficulties and when I wander into snack and lunchtime, many have immature eating patterns. Many have immature jaw and tongue movements, quiet voices and poor breath control.

I cannot hope to work with all the children directly.

I have keen K/1 teachers who would like to help.

I am pulling together some activities for the teachers to do with the class – songs, movements, etc., taken from voice TalkTools® and other sources. I want to include activities for respiration, phonation, resonation and articulation.

Has anyone tried to do this already?

Any pitfalls you can anticipate for me and the teachers? Any pointers?

I do use TalkTools® already with some students and I am finding an increasing need.

I am planning on doing a short pre- and post-screening possibly based on the SMILE book.

Many thanks,


Hi Sarah,

First of all I admire you attempt to help so many children in need.  It is so difficult to not have availability to work with everyone one-on-one.  I think if I had to pick on thing to work on, it would be jaw strength with bite tubes because it will help in all the areas you mentioned. Horns would also be a fun rewarding task which would focus on respiration.  The challenge that I see would be not being able to monitor where they are placing the tools in their mouths, which is what makes it therapeutic. I would try to work with a different child each time to make sure they could feel where the tool needed to be and how they needed to breath or chew. Placement and form is very important.  You could watch the group as they perform the task and give verbal feedback.

That being said, I encourage you to consult your school’s Speech-Language Pathologist first for advice and mention the procedure above, and only then follow their recommendations. You could work with them as a facilitator but are not licensed to practice Speech-Language Pathology yourself, as a teacher. If there is no Speech-Language Pathologist on duty at your school, consult your state association for support.

Looking forward to hearing back.



Elizabeth Smithson, MSP, CCC-SLP is a Speech-Language Pathologist who has over 10 years of professional experience working with infants, children, adolescents and adults. She earned her Master of Speech Pathology at the University of South Carolina. Liz is also a Level 5 TalkTools® Trained Therapist. She has received specialized training in Oral Placement Therapy, Speech, Feeding, Apraxia, Sensory Processing Disorders, and PROMPT©. Liz works with clients with a wide range of disabilities including Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome, and Spinal Muscular Atrophy.  She works through her own private practice Elizabeth Smithson Therapy, LLC in the home setting and in the TalkTools® office in Charleston, SC.

Talktool admin 25 Jan 16

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