Oral Motor Institute


Recent Publications

Clinicians have been presenting on oral motor and related topics at ASHA. In 2019, there were wonderful presentations by Melanie Potock, Krisi Brackett, Lori Overland, Robyn Merkel-Walsh, Jill Rabin, Linda D'Onofrio and more!

Pam Marshalla has published The Marshalla Guide: A Topical Anthology of Speech Movement Techniques for Motor Speech Disorders & Articulation Deficits. It can be purchased here: https://pammarshalla.com/product/the-marshalla-guide

Robyn Merkel-Walsh and Lori Overland have published TOTs 5-Step Screening Tool. For more on this and related TOTs materials visit: https://talktools.com/pages/tots-tethered-oral-tissues

Congratulations to The Breathe Institute for new research on TOTs and myofunctional therapy: Zaghi, S., Valcu-Pinkerton, S., Jabara, M., Norouz-Knutsen, L., Govardhan, C., Moeller, J., Sinkus, V., Thorden, R., Downey, V., Camacho, M., Yoon, A., Hang, W.M., Hockel, B., Guilleminault, C. & Lui, Y.C.L. (2019) Lingual frenulopasty with myofunctional therapy: exploring safety and efficacy in 348 cases. Laryngoscope Inverstigative Otolaryngology: DOI: 10.1002/lio2.297

Recent studies have been presented at ASHA. Full course lists are available on the Facebook page.


We are welcoming new board members and would like to have an occupational therapy and lactation representatives. Please email robynslp95@aol.com if interested.

From the Board Chair:



We need to remember that The ASHA Code of Ethics states: (Principle of Ethics III) Individuals shall honor their responsibility to the public when advocating for the unmet communication and swallowing needs of the public and shall provide accurate information involving any aspect of the professions.  The code also states: Individuals shall not misrepresent research and scholarly activities, diagnostic information, services provided, results of services provided, products dispensed, or the effects of products dispensed.

This implies as therapists we need to understand the Evidenced Based Practice Map ASHA provides us with. Last fall, I wrote a piece for the ASHA Leader Blog:


This was prompted by a piece written by Melanie Potock that received backlash on social media:


There is no argument from the OMI that we need more level 1 & 2 research for all areas of our field including oral motor, oral placement and feeding; however to disregard all other research but level 1 research as EBP negates the whole point ASHA makes. I encourage all therapists to engage in social media with caution and with a mutual respect for one another as outlined in the code (under Principle of Ethics IV) : Individuals shall uphold the dignity and autonomy of the professions, maintain collaborative and harmonious interprofessional and intraprofessional relationships, and accept the professions' self-imposed standards.  For more on social media, you can read the ASHA LEADER article I co-authored with DR. Jennifer Moore.

If you are in private practice and require support in EBP for your work please refer to the position statement of the American Academy of Private Practice in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology. I worked with a committee to create this document. Read it here: http://www.aappspa.org/slp-aud.item.94/aappspa-position-statement-oral-motor-therapy.html

Board Members Update

Several Board members and Consultants to the Board were presenters at ASHA Connect and at the ASHA Convention in 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019. Please see the EBP in Progress Page for more information.

PODCAST: Oral Placement Therapy

19 July 2015 | Conversations in Speech Pathology: with Robyn Merkel-Walsh

This podcast was in response to an interview with Dr. Gregory Lof in a previous podcast regarding NSOME and EBP. Robyn explained what Evidenced Based Practice we do have, and what needs further research.

21 June 2018 | In-Depth with Robyn Merkel-Walsh & Jeff Stepen: On EBP, OMD and OPT

This interview was a followup to Robyn's 2015 podcast with Jeff Stepen.

RESEARCH: Nonspeech Oral Movements and Oral Motor Disorders

November 2015 | American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology

Ray Kent, PhD, has written an excellent journal article - Nonspeech Oral Movements and Oral Motor Disorders: A Narrative Review.


Here are a few items of interest:

  • OMI founder and former co-chair Diane Bahr has stepped down from our board in an effort to assist with mentoring without professional conflict. We thank Diane for her many years of dedication, for creating our monograph process and for all her professional contributions. Diane will certainly be supporting the OMI but in a different role for the future. Diane just joined the TalkTools lecturing bureau and will continue her commitment to our mission in the field.
  • Robyn Merkel-Walsh has proposed several nominations for new Board Members. The announcement of new inductees will be announced on our Facebook page in the upcoming year.
  • Kristi Gatto has written an excellent Orofacial Manual that can be found here: https://www.amazon.com/Understanding-Orofacial-Complex-Muscle-Manual/dp/1478739894

EBP Support for Private Practice

Janaury 2017 | Robyn Merkel-Walsh

If you are in private practive and require support in EBP for your work, please refer to the position statement of the American Academy of Private Practice in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology. I worked with a committee to create this document. Read it here: https://talktools.com/blogs/from-the-experts/aappspa-position-statement-oral-motor-therapy