Today we are reviewing the m-chew. It is an oral-motor device for the jaw. It is produced by Reed Invent for Therapy. The “m” stand for multi, as the m-chew device provides lower jaw movement exercises in three dimensions: up-down, left-right, and front-back. It has a silicone based non-toxic chewing part which is rotatable. It comes in three color-coded options (green, red, and purple) for different jaw sizes.
This is what the red (medium sized) one looks like:
Here are pictures of the m-chew in action. During the up-down-left-right jaw training exercise the patient chews the m-chew device up and down while moving their lower jaw in the left-right direction. In the up-down-front-back training exercise the patient chews the m-chew up and down while their lower jaw is moved in the front-back direction.
The jaw is like other bones and/or muscle groups. It needs to be used and encouraged with exercise to function fully. Degenerative diseases and hereditary conditions can have an affect on jaw stability. Jaw strengthening and stabilization practice can also also be a good companion to a therapy program that is trying to reduce a speech disorder such as a frontal lisp where it has been shown by some that a good jaw stability can aid in the correct production of sounds such as: /S/ and /Z/. For instance, for the /S/ sound, the jaw needs to be brought up. A correct production is hard to achieve when the jaw hangs low or is misaligned. Here is a picture of misalignment of the jaw and one of a low hanging jaw:
We have had a few children at the speech clinic whom have come to us with low hanging jaws and misaligned jaws and dentition. We sometimes advise parents to consult with a dentists, orthodontists and/or oral surgeons in order to help with their malocclusion and jaw difficulties before initiating any sort of jaw strengthening or movement program. We have done exercises with our clients only when they are not experiencing pain of any sort and when they are tolerable to their introduction. For instance, we have seen advancements in sound accuracy and overal speaking intelligibility after working on increasing alignment and strength with a child that has Down Syndrome. The exercises appeared to have increased her awareness of her jaw and where it should be when she speaks. She has been an ideal client example of someone who benefits from a jaw exercise program as she does not seem to mind the addition to chewing objects in her mouth or the need to follow through on completing several exercises 5 to 10 times each on a daily basis. This client presented with very low postural tone before the program, but the exercises have appeared to help increase her tone to the point where her jaw does not hang low anymore. Most importantly, the family has reported a more coordinated manner to her eating, and drinking. She is making less of a mess at mealtime! Shanda and I have noted a great advancement in her ability to talk clearly during word to phrase level tasks. She is improving greatly because of her increased jaw awareness!
We would like to add a freebie to this post. Here are some jaw exercise cards for your own files. These are simple and are examples of ones that we completed with the client that we mentioned above. Completing these may help to improve jaw strength and alignment for your own clients whom are struggling with those issues with their jaws and may also help to increase speaking accuracy in the end! Right click on each slide and print out if you are interested in using these therapy cards.
Please note: Caution should be completed before beginning any type of exercise program. We would advise that a physician be consulted to approve the initiation of any exercises. Completing these oral motor exercises are at your own risk..
While using the m-chew, other exercises could be utilized for jaw strengthening as well but it would be catered to the needs of the individual patient.. It would also be recommended to control relaxation of the shoulders and jaw while the correct positioning of the device is utilized.
The m-chew is a device prescribed by a registered occupational therapist or speech-language pathologist for treating children with oral-motor problems. The m-chew should only be administered under the supervision of a registered therapist. For more details about the m-chew device, please visit their website at www.reedinvent.com.
Thank you for stopping by Twin Sisters Speech & Language Therapy LLC Blog today.
Have a great day!
Manda & Shanda, SLPs