Potential Gatekeepers for Airway-Function Disorders Kudos to Nicole Archambault for her highly informative and well-documented article on sleep, airway function and the effect of sleep-disordered breathing on our children (“Healthy Breathing, ’Round the Clock,” February 2018). The impact of airway-function disorders (AFDs) cannot be overstated. The high percentages of comorbidity between AFD and sleep disorders, ... Inbox
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Inbox  |   April 01, 2018
Potential Gatekeepers for Airway-Function Disorders
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Swallowing, Dysphagia & Feeding Disorders / Special Populations / Autism Spectrum / School-Based Settings / International & Global / Language Disorders / Reading & Writing Disorders / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Inbox
Inbox   |   April 01, 2018
Potential Gatekeepers for Airway-Function Disorders
The ASHA Leader, April 2018, Vol. 23, 4. doi:10.1044/leader.IN1.23042018.4
The ASHA Leader, April 2018, Vol. 23, 4. doi:10.1044/leader.IN1.23042018.4
Kudos to Nicole Archambault for her highly informative and well-documented article on sleep, airway function and the effect of sleep-disordered breathing on our children (“Healthy Breathing, ’Round the Clock,” February 2018). The impact of airway-function disorders (AFDs) cannot be overstated. The high percentages of comorbidity between AFD and sleep disorders, autism, learning disability, ADHD, and speech-language and swallowing difficulties are shocking. Who knew?
Those practitioners trained in treatment of orofacial myofunctional disorders (OMD) knew. No longer referred to by the outdated term “tongue thrust,” the ramifications of OMD go beyond malocclusion and /s/ errors. OMD therapy is an adjunct treatment used in sleep medicine, airway-centric dentistry and orthodontia, and is becoming the standard of care in follow-up to tonsillectomy/adenoidectomy. When mouth breathing and low, forward tongue carriage are present in conjunction with learning and behavior difficulties in the classroom, we must suspect airway-function disorders. Given that these affect academic functioning, an OMD-trained SLP is in the perfect position to identify and remediate OMD in the schools.
The time has come for ASHA to incorporate OMD into the mainstream of training for all SLPs, as is the practice with our colleagues from Brazil. As practitioners who regularly fix our gaze on the mouths of our clients, we are literally staring into the faces of a generation affected by airway dysfunction. SLPs are potential gatekeepers who can identify individuals suffering from this serious and pervasive health problem. Let’s be part of the solution to this epidemic!
Juliet Boege Weinhold, Tempe, Arizona

We’re glad you enjoyed the article. Thank you for your feedback.

2 Comments
April 15, 2018
Linda D'Onofrio
Perfect Timing!
Thank you Juliet for validating what makes Nicole Archambault's article so powerful. Oromyofunctional therapy should be a basic part of speech pathology education, as it is in other parts of the world. Any professional or graduate student wanting to have access to the research and learn more are welcome to join the Oromyofunctional Study Group on Facebook. The research links are for sharing publicly. Thank you again! ASHA needs to hear this right now!
April 15, 2018
Robyn Merkel-Walsh
Bravo
Nicole this is excellent. I agree with the other comments about making OMD a part of graduate education. Students are learning to assess the oral motor structure, but not how to relate to function. Airway is our future in this profession. It is imperative that all clinicians be able to assess and treat OMDs. I am so happy the Leader published this and hope to see more.
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FROM THIS ISSUE
April 2018
Volume 23, Issue 4