I am re-posting this exercise due to the importance of it in maintaining the shape of the palate in children with Down Syndrome. I am excited to say that a little one I see….I will call her B to remain anonymous……..went to the pediatric dentist today…and he indicated that her palate looks “typical for her age“…..yeah!…..that is what I wanted to hear. B turned one at the end of this March 2012….and her mom has been doing the palatal massage since I started working with B through early intervention. Please read below regarding what the palatal massage is….and how to do the palatal massage. And once again a thank you to the amazing Lori Overland for her expertise!
Palatal massage: the goal of the palatal massage is to maintain the shape of the palate. Find the palatal raphe:
The palatal raphe is a rather narrow, low elevation in the center of the hard palate. You can run your tongue along the palatal raphe…starting from the bump behind your teeth…follow the palatal raphe until you get to midline. It is like you are running your tongue along a line…you should be able to feel it. The reason you are running your tongue along the raphe is because you need to find the midline point. You will know that you are midline on the palatal raphe when you have found the bump. So that will be your starting point for this exercise.
I think it is pretty easy to find the bump at the top of the palate. Remember to start your tongue behind your front teeth…and run your tongue along your palate…straight back….when you find the bump you will know that this is the starting point….the point where you will start this pre-feeding exercise with your little one.
Now…inside your little one’s mouth you will find the bump…the bump lies between the two halves of your palate. Once you find the bump on her palate….use your index finger and run the pad of your index finger down to the lateral ridge (the spot where her teeth will insert)….then roll back up to mid line to the palatal raphe…and then back down to the other side of the mouth. So to be clear…you are running your finger sideways…from the bump on the top of the palate to the lateral ridge…(the spot where her teeth will insert)
Each side should be massaged four to five times prior to the feeding. The goal of this exercise is to maintain the shape of the palate. Remember the palate fuses around one year of age.