Oral Motor Imitation (OMI)

Oral Motor Imitation (OMI)

The objective of OMI is for your child to be able to independently mimic any motion made with her mouth and tongue.

All of the oral motor exercises are to strengthen your child oral motor apparatus. There for enabling your child to learn how to talk. Oftentimes children with autism have weak oral motor skills due to oral motor planning and a weak oral motor apparatus. Oral motor imitation will strengthen your child’s oral motor apparatus and therefor will help your child with all the “tools” your child needs to talk/to form sounds.

Instructions for Lesson

  1. Sit on the floor at or at the table with your child.
  2. Engage your child by saying your child’s name and or touching child’s arm.
  3. After you have your child’s attention say “(Child’s name) do this (for example: open mouth wide).
  4. Perfect outcome: your child opens mouth wide. Reinforce!

Not so perfect outcome: your child just sits there.

  • What to do: reengage your child by saying his/her name and or touching his/her arm and repeat the instruction “(Child’s name) do this (open mouth wide)”, prompting oral motor excercises is hard since it is difficult for you to open your child’s mouth. You can gently pull on your child’s chin to kind of give him an idea what to do.

Be Pesistent & Repeat until Mastered

After that engage your child again and repeat. If your child opens his mouth, great, reinforce. If not repeat the steps from above. Repeat it three times and if your child still is not getting it move on to a different task and come back to it later. Also once your child gets the prompted instruction right, redirect your child to a simple task he/she has mastered and then go back to the original instruction to make sure your child got it.

It is hard to prompt any oral motor imitation just simply because it involves your child’s mouth and tongue. For anything involving the tongue try using a lollipop to lure the tongue out of your child’s mouth. Dip the lollipop to the tip of the tongue and see if your child will then follow the lollipop with his tongue.


It might take your child a while, a couple days maybe even a couple weeks, to grasp the concept of what is asked of him/her. Don’t get frustrated and stick with the program. Your child will get there! Reinforce (Praise) a right response or even if your child is trying really hard. In the video you will see a demonstration of how to run “Oral Motor Imitation (OMI)” program.

Items you need:

straws, whistles of any kind, cup, spoon, fork, flute, things you can blow into, cotton balls and/or pom poms(to blow them across the table).

Autism Support Now offers ABA Therapy in Kansas City and throughout Southeast Missouri. Founded as an ABA self help video site in 2013 (by 501c3, Ella's Hope for Autism) ASN began offering in home ABA services in December of 2016 in Kansas City. In June of 2018 Autism Support Now, LLC opened it's second location in Cape Girardeau, Missouri.