Exercises to Improve Facial Muscle Tone for Speech Therapy

At any point in your life, speech can be compromised by things that happen. Poor facial muscle tone development in toddlers and infants, accident, stroke, Bell's palsy and other disorders can all change the way you speak, making you unintelligible to many people. The good news in many cases is that doing exercises on your facial muscle tone can clear up your speech. Though some conditions will require constant exercises for the duration of your life, others require only a few weeks to months of exercises to clear up your speech.

Lips
Lips are an important part of word formation. There are several ways to help increase their dexterity and strength. Make kiss shapes, large and small o shapes that hide and then cover your teeth. Smile as large as you can, stretching the edges of your mouth. Stick your finger on your gum above your teeth and wrap your lip over it withour using your hands. Repeat this with your lower lip.

Tongue
The tongue has a number of different positions it needs to be able to make to form words clearly. Strength and flexibility are both important to avoid slurred speech. Stick your tongue out all the way and make circles so it goes as far up, down and to the sides as you can. Put your hand over your mouth and try to push it off with your tongue. Practice curling and rolling your r sounds.

Cheeks
Puff out and suck in your cheeks alternately. Cheeks are related to jaw, so many of the jaw strengthening exercises that you do can also help the cheeks. Lip exercises also require cheek muscles to perform, so though there are few cheek exclusive exercises to try, they are getting a workout. They are also the most obvious sign of your level of facial muscle tone. Both strong and underdeveloped facial muscles are clear in the cheeks, because there is little bone to shape the area.

Neck/Jaw
The jaw and neck are two of the most important areas to work in order to strengthen muscles and speak clearly. Try opening your jaw as wide as possible, adding resistance from your hand. Look up as far as possible, jut your lower jaw forward, and rub your hands along the jaw and throat. Turn your head from side to side as far as you can, and continue while shrugging your shoulders then dropping them as far back as possible. Jaw and neck are tied closely to shoulders, so if you are having range of motion issues in this area, you will get more out of your exercises with massage or therapy on these areas. Work all exercises for ten minutes three times a day for rapid results

Exercises to Improve Facial Muscle Tone for Speech Therapy: ""
Cite this page: Nugent, Pam M.S., "Exercises to Improve Facial Muscle Tone for Speech Therapy," in PsychologyDictionary.org, January 9, 2016, https://psychologydictionary.org/article/exercises-to-improve-facial-muscle-tone-for-speech-therapy/ (accessed July 15, 2018).
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