M.O.R.E: Integrating the Mouth with Sensory and Postural Functions

M.O.R.E (Motor Oral Respiratory Eyes Program)

The M.O.R.E intervention program integrates and mouth with sensory and postural functions.

Oral motor input is necessary for the organization of the nervous system. Oetter, Rickter, and Frick (1993) in their book, M.O.R.E.: Integrating the Mouth with Sensory and Postural Functions, stress the importance of oral mouth stimulation in regulating attention and mood.

The suck/swallow/breathe (SSB) synchrony has a pervasive influence on all areas of motor development and coordination. Awareness of these influences leads to powerful strategies that support improved sensory motor, cognitive and psychosocial development.

Sandplay Therapy

Sandplay therapy is a form of expressive therapy that is sometimes referred to as sandplay (although sandplay does have a slightly different approach) or the World Technique. This type of therapy is often used with children but can be applied to adults, teens, couples, families, and groups as well. Sand tray therapy allows a person to construct his or her own microcosm using miniature toys and coloured sand. The scene created acts as a reflection of the person’s own life and allows him or her the opportunity to resolve conflicts, remove obstacles, and gain acceptance of self.

Sand Therapy for Trauma, Neglect or Abuse

Many children are unable to verbalize emotional states, particularly in the face of trauma, neglect, or abuse The non-verbal nature of sandplay therapy and the familiar medium of sand can help children achieve feelings of comfort and security. With little instruction from the therapist, the child is free to play and develop his or her own expression of situations. Oftentimes the children will experience a sense of independent play and will begin making assumptions and behavior changes without cues from the therapist. This method of therapy serves as a valuable and powerful outlet for children and an incredibly insightful method of gaining access to traumatic experiences.Sandplay therapy is also very useful in the treatment of children who have been sexually abused. These children will often remain silent for fear of harm or even death. They are often threatened and are in highly anxious states when they come to therapy. The relaxed and interactive setting of sandplay therapy provides them the initial arena of safety that they need to move toward healing.

Sandplay Therapy Techniques

One of the most common techniques used in sandplay therapy is the World Technique. This non-verbal approach involves the use of miniatures. People in therapy are encouraged to use miniature toys, figurines, and objects in the sand in ways they choose while the therapist observes and later analyzes the person’s interaction. The person in therapy can add water to the sand and place the miniatures in the sand tray in any order. The design of the sand tray is guided by their imagination and their subconscious. The result is a microcosm of their inner world. The world within the sand tray is expressed through symbolism and metaphor, and may not even make immediate sense to the person creating it. But aided by the therapist, a person in therapy—even a child—can begin to recognize the relationship between the creation in the sand and their own inner world.

Writing Disorder (Dysgraphia)

Dysgraphia is a learning disability that affects writing. Writing  requires a complex set of motor and information processing skills. Dysgraphia makes the act of writing difficult and can lead to problems with spelling, poor handwriting and putting thoughts on paper. People with dysgraphia can have trouble organizing letters, numbers and words on a line or page.

Warning Signs

Young Children

Trouble With:

  • Tight, awkward pencil grip and body position
  • Avoiding writing or drawing tasks
  • Trouble forming letter shapes
  • Inconsistent spacing between letters or words
  • Poor understanding of uppercase and lowercase letters
  • Inability to write or draw in a line or within margins
  • Tiring quickly while writing

School-Age Children

Trouble With:

  • Illegible handwriting
  • Mixture of cursive and print writing
  • Saying words out loud while writing
  • Concentrating so hard on writing that comprehension of what’s written is missed
  • Trouble thinking of words to write
  • Omitting or not finishing words in sentences

Teenagers and Adults

Trouble With:

  • Trouble organizing thoughts on paper
  • Trouble keeping track of thoughts already written down
  • Difficulty with syntax structure and grammar
  • Large gap between written ideas and understanding demonstrated through speech

Further information on Dysgraphia can be found on the National Centre for Learning Disabilities:  http://www.ncld.org/types-learning-disabilities/dysgraphia/what-is-dysgraphia 

Attention & Concentration

Not everyone who is overly hyperactive, inattentive, or impulsive has an attention deficit disorder. Since most people sometimes blurt out things they didn’t mean to say, bounce from one task to another, or become disorganized and forgetful, how can specialists tell if the problem is ADHD?

To assess whether a person has ADHD, we consider several critical questions: Are these behaviours excessive, long-term, and pervasive? That is, do they occur more often than in other people the same age? Are they a continuous problem and not just a response to a temporary situation? Do the behaviours occur in several settings or only in one specific place like the playground or the office? The child’s pattern of behaviour is compared against a set of criteria and characteristics of the disorder. These criteria appear in a manual called the DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders version IV).

Nonverbal Learning Disorder

Nonverbal learning disorder is a neurophysiological condition that results in both deficits and strengths in a child’s development in regards to cognition, intuitive thinking, organisation skills, processing and visual-spatial skills.  There are four main types of NLD:

  • Motor – poor coordination, balance and fine motor skills
  • Sensory – auditory, tactile, visual etc
  • Social – inability to comprehend nonverbal communication, difficulty with change
  • Visual-spatial-organisational: poor spatial perception, relations and visual recall

Assessment for NLD will look at your child’s cognitive, sensory and motor skills as well as his or her ability to process both auditory and visual-spatial information.  A multidisciplinary approach to diagnosis and treatment is important to ensure your children is best supported in all areas of their development.                                                           (Woliver, R. 2009, p. 300-303)