Jenifer Midili, M.A. CCC-SLP, PC, COM, QOM, is a Certified Thumb Sucking Professional Provider. She has specific training through Carla Lejarraga, founder of The Thumb Sucking Clinic in Australia, and Sandra Holtzman, creator of Unplugging the Thumb. This training specifically focuses on helping children empower themselves to eliminate their negative oral habits.
If you are concerned about your child’s negative oral habit (i.e. thumb sucking, finger sucking, pacifier use, nail biting, etc.), you may have the following questions:
- Why is my child sucking his/her fingers or thumb?
- Why is my child still sucking on his/her pacifier?
- Why is my child chewing on non-food items or biting his/her nails?
- Is my child’s oral habit negatively affecting his/her mouth posture or dentition?
- Does my child have any airway issues that could be directly correlated to his/her sucking habit?
- What steps should I take to help my child eliminate his/her sucking habit?
Negative oral habits occur for varying reasons. This program is designed for children approximately 5 years of age and older who are continuing their negative oral habit and having difficulty ceasing the behavior. Your child’s initial consultation will consist of an analysis of background information, a thorough oral assessment, a review of your child’s sucking habit and possible reasons your child may be having difficulty eliminating the oral habit. This appointment helps us determine the next steps to a personalized treatment plan that is appropriate for your child.
As with any program, the child has to be “on board” for it to be successful. This is why the program begins with a child friendly explanation, video and hands-on activities to determine if it is the right time to begin. In other words, the child has to agree before the program is started. Our hands-on approach is a fun and exciting journey for kids. If your child is willing to walk this journey and no other consultation appointments are necessary prior to beginning, it will last approximately 15 weeks to make certain the habit is fully eliminated. Appointments are spaced out into 6 sessions with the first session being the assessment.
Many children with sucking habits have myofunctional disorders due to the fingers/thumb altering the resting posture of the tongue which affects the swallow. Because of this, after successful completion of the program, the clinician may recommend a full myofunctional evaluation to determine the areas that have been affected by the sucking habit. This is an important step, before orthodontic work, to ensure proper tongue resting posture and correct swallowing. It is completely optional.