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Research Article  |   April 1986
Lateralization of Tongue Movements During Eating in Children 2 to 5 Years Old
Author Affiliations
  • At the time of this study, Erika G. Gisel, PhD, OTR, was Assistant Professor, Department of Preventive Medicine, Washington University. She is currently at the School of Physical and Occupational Therapy, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada H3G 1Y5
  • Lynn Schwaab, MS, OTR, is Research Assistant, Department of Preventive Medicine, Washington University, St. Louis, MO 63110
  • Loren Lange-Stemmler, MS, OTR, is Senior Therapist, Special School District, St. Louis, MO 63011
  • Carol W. Niman, MS, OTR, is Director of the OTA Program, St. Louis Community College, Meramac, MO 63122
  • Jeannette L. Schwartz, MS, OTR, is in private practice, San Antonio, TX 78250
Article Information
Intellectual Disabilities / Pediatric Evaluation and Intervention / Features
Research Article   |   April 1986
Lateralization of Tongue Movements During Eating in Children 2 to 5 Years Old
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, April 1986, Vol. 40, 265-270. doi:10.5014/ajot.40.4.265
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, April 1986, Vol. 40, 265-270. doi:10.5014/ajot.40.4.265
Abstract

Normative data on skills of the tongue used in eating are presented. Normal children 2 to 5 years old were studied regarding their preference of placing food either on the right or left side when eating, and they were compared with age-matched Down’s syndrome children. In addition, the ability to move food from the right to the left side of the mouth was studied.

Normal children underwent a transition from predominantly placing food on the right side at 2 years of age to predominantly placing it on the left side at 4 years of age. Among Down’s syndrome children females preferred the right side, and males preferred the left side. The ability to move food from right to left (lateralizing) undergoes a developmental progression from tilting the head to rolling, followed by slow and eventually by smooth movement from one side to the other. Only 15% of the 5-year-olds were able to move food smoothly from side to side. These data provide a baseline against which children with eating problems can be compared.