For some kids, "waking up" the muscles is very beneficial, especially before doing more therapy. With some children it may be rubbing various textures on their skin, some may be massage and others may be vibration.
To help stimulate O's oral muscles before we do speech therapy, we use the Z-Vibe from TalkTools. You can just use your fingers, but since we have the Z-Vibe, that's what we use.
What we do is basically a quick facial massage to help get those muscles ready for some therapy :).
Using either a Z-Vibe or your fingers, press gently and move in small circles from the TMJ (see below) and down to the corners of the mouth. Go a long the bottom of the jaw (see diagram below) and also along the upper part of the cheek. Both to the corners of the mouth. Go around the mouth/lips, doing small circular motions. Then on the lips. With some kids, you may go "inside" the mouth on the inside of he cheeks, but we don't do that.
This is where you want to start the massage.
I drew on this picture the pattern that you want to do with the massage. Starting at each side of the TMJ and working toward midline with both top & bottom.
This will help "wake up" those muscles and also help firm & strengthen them.
I received a comment with a request for a recipe for homemade ranch dressing. Yes, we do have a recipe for it (gluten free, of course!) and I will try to post the recipe soon!