What is it?
Vibration provides stimulation to our tactile, vestibular, and proprioceptive systems. It can be both alerting and calming for children. One way to provide vibration stimulation is through the use of ARK’s Z-Vibe ®, which ARK describes as a “vibratory oral motor tool that can help build oral tone and improve a variety of speech, feeding, and sensory skills.” A vibrating toothbrush can also be a good alternative. This may be recommended for children based on their sensory or motor needs, and can be used in a variety of ways:
- Increasing oral awareness to decrease drooling or over-stuffing during feeding
- Decreasing oral defensiveness that may be impacting feeding or toothbrushing
- Providing calming and organizing oral proprioceptive input to self-regulate (this can be useful for children who seek oral input via biting or chewing clothing)
- Improving oral motor and oral praxis skills following a frenectomy
- Improving tongue range of motion (i.e. elevation and lateralization) to decrease mouth-breathing, improve feeding skills, and strengthen tongue, lip, and cheek muscles.
- Providing organizing tactile input to arms, hands, legs, or feet
- Improving body awareness or discrimination of left and right sides of the body
- Improving attention, fine motor control, force discrimination, or motor memory when used with the pencil adapter during handwriting
How do I use it?
- Pretend to be searching for treasures or animals by moving the vibrating tool around the child’s mouth and have them follow it with their tongue
- Stroke the tool against the roof of the child’s mouth to promote tongue elevation
- Stroke the tool along the sides of the child’s tongue to promote tongue protrusion and lateralization
- Play a game of hide and seek with the child’s tongue by moving it to their inner/outer cheeks or lips and having them find it with their tongue
- Play Simon Says (i.e. “Simon Says touch your left cheek”)
- Allow your child to explore their mouth or body and be in control of the tool for more organizing vibratory input