Beckman Oral Therapy Exercises And The Z-Vibe Is a Winning Combination!

Two times a day we do a series of exercises given to us by Noah’s speech therapist as part of the Beckman Oral Motor program.  The Beckman exercises are designed to help children with low muscle tone  (a common physical characteristic of children diagnosed with Down Syndrome) develop strength in their mouth which helps with oral motor skills, and eventually speech.

Z-Vibe Is A Great Speech Therapy Tool For Children Born With Down Syndrome

In the video it looks like Noah doesn’t enjoy some of the exercises, but he actually doesn’t mind them.  In fact, on most days he giggles and laughs all the way through them.  We’ve seen tremendous progress in Noah’s ability to eat since we started these exercises almost five months ago.  We went from seeing our son hardly being able to drink from a bottle, to devouring spoon fed cereal like a champ!  It’s really quite remarkable…!

Z Vibe Sensory Integration Tool

The Z-Vibe Really Works!

In the second half of the video we are using a tool called a z-vibe.  It’s basically a small, vibrating toothbrush with a soft rubber tip on the end.  In the video it may look as if we are just randomly sticking the z-vibe in his mouth, but there’s actually a series of very specific exercises that are required as part of the Beckman oral motor exercises program.  These exercises provide oral stimulation, and help reduce tongue protrusion (which is also a common characteristic in babies diagnosed with Down syndrome.)

Why do babies born with Down syndrome stick their tongue out:  If you don’t know anyone personally with Down Syndrome, you may not know why many babies with Down Syndrome sometimes stick their tongues out.  The reason for their tongue sticking out (known as tongue protrusion) is partly due to the low muscle tone in their face, and mouth.  Almost everyday someone says, “Wow…look at him stick his little tongue, that’s so cute!”  While it may look cute to everyone else, to us it’s actually a reminder that Noah was born with Down Syndrome , and that we have a lot of work to do! Don’t worry if you’ve made a comment like that to us, it doesn’t offend us in the least.  Up until  six months ago I didn’t know any of this myself, so we’ll all learn together!

What sort of things to you do for oral motor therapy? Have you tried out the Z-Vibe?  Do you have any experience with the Beckman oral motor exercises? Have any questions for us? Be sure to post in the comments below.

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About Rick Smith

Hi, I'm Noah's Dad and I'm passionate about giving the world a window into our life as we raise our son who was born with Down syndrome. I also enjoy connecting with other families, so let's stay connected.


  1. Thanks so much. I really appreciate that!

    I post a daily one minute video every day! So hopefully I’ll see you around! 🙂

  2. I wished my mom and dad documented my life as I was growing up like you are documenting Noah’s.

    “and I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” – Philippians 1:6 ESV


    • Thanks Brian!

      I only wish I had thought about doing this on the first day Noah came into the world! How cool would it had been to have recorded one minute from every day of his life! Oh, well. I missed a few months, but it’ll still be cool to have this digital scrapbook of Noah!

      A huge prayer I have is that parents that are out there searching for videos of children with special needs will be encouraged by our videos and journey!

      Thanks for all of your encouragement, it really means a lot!

  3. Love the videos, especially this one. We are starting to work with Carly on her muscle tone around her mouth and tongue. She has been hanging out in level 3 food for a bit and is ready to make the move up to some more solid food. We will have to check out the Z Vibe as well.

  4. Jason,

    So good to see you on here! I enjoyed reading up on your story! Yah, you should check the Z-Vibe, I’ll be glad to answer any questions you have on it. Next week will be a big week for us – Noah’s eating stage 1 food – we are pretty pumped! (There will certainly be a video for that!)

    That’s awesome about Carly and her getting started on stage 3. You have to let me know how that goes, I’d love to hear!

  5. He is sooooo adorable! One of my sons has Down Syndrome, and he’s the sweetest boy ever. 🙂 You can see pics of him on my site. Blessings to you and your HANDSOME son! Thank you for sharing his life with others.

    • Thanks so much! Your son sounds awesome! I see from your website you guys are from Dallas; do you go to any of the guild meetings?

      Be sure to visit – I want to be sure we stay connected, and I’m looking forward to learning more about your little boy! 🙂

  6. Katie Kroone says

    Looks like fun 🙂 Speech therapy can be even more fun as kids get older, the amount of games that you get to play with the kids are endless, and you can be as creative and crazy as you want 🙂 Im doing a speech therapy clinic this year at university as part of my Audiology degree, and have seen how much faster kids progress when the parents are actively involved and practice at home with their child- Noah is blessed to have such enthusiastic and involved parents! Im looking forward to learning more about Down Syndrome and Speech Therapy through this site 🙂

  7. Hello,

    I have a two month old girl who was diagnosed with Down syndrome,I was wondering where you can purchase the z vibe.

    thank you

    love your videos please keep them comming.

  8. What an amazing site you created, thank you for sharing !
    What a gorgeous son you have, I have a gorgeous little princess myself, she will turn 1 on the 18th of November. I am very happy that i came across the Z-vibe stick part on your site, the reason is that our speech therapist mentioned the possibility of a therapy called ‘castillo morales’ this is something that was developed in Germany where, apparently, they are far more advance with such things. It is a kind of thing you put in your kid’s mouth and it will stimulate the tongue to ‘go and look’ for it, stopping it from being stuck out.
    Ofcourse I can see that our little lady sticks out her tongue, however, we do not have comparing material to work out whether it is necessary. If it works and it is needed ofcourse, but rather not when it is not necessary. I will go and find out more about this Beckman therapy. Can you see improvement yet or have you not been doing it that long yet?
    Kindest regards,

    • We saw great improvement. We have actually just started back with the exercises as he is dribbling with eating. Our ST said we had to be careful with stimulating the tongue as then he could be seeking that stimulation all that time. He LOVES the z-vibe. Let me know if you need any help. I could email you some things 🙂

  9. Donnarthurs says

    I just saw this and I am laughing at the way Noah is looking at you.  It seems like he is thinking what is wrong with these people, why don’t they just leave my cute little mouth and tongue alone.  But then he seems to get into it and starts having fun.  You should be so proud of your precious little guy and you and your wife should give youselves a big pat of the back for being the greatest parents.

  10. MADDISON N RYAN says


  11. Sithlordswife says

    Thank you for writing about such an important topic-oral motor exercises are an important part in my (special needs) classroom! It has led to better eating for my students as well as less self stimulation-students ate less likely to chew on their clothing, fingers etc. when these needs are met through oral motor exercises.

  12. Kelly M Acree says

    I do learn something from pretty much every video I watch. But the initial take-away each time is: He is too stinkin’ cute!

  13. Id love to watch this video but I’m having a hard time seeing it. 

    • Hmmm. Sorry you are having a hard time watching the video. What happens when you try to watch it, and what are you trying to watch it on? (iPhone, Laptop, desktop, etc…?)

  14. Shelby's Grandma says

    Thank you for sharing your journey. This is an amazing website! My granddaughter was born on May 27th and is just precious – as is Noah! We are still in the learning stages and researching all resources available to give her the best start possible. At what age is the Z-vibe recommended for use? Keep those words of wisdom coming!!

  15. Thank you so much for creating this wonderful website with tons of info.Noah is amazing.Your website is a great source of information for mums like me with no access to quality therapy service.I have a 15 moths old daughter and my speech therapist thinks that oral motor therapy is no use. I tried hard to find more info about Beckman therapy and did not succeed.could you please email me some info to above email. Or if you know a therapist I can get some online help, please let me have the contact.

  16. Thank you so much for creating this wonderful website with tons of info.Noah is amazing.Your website is a great source of information for mums like me with no access to quality therapy service.I have a 15 moths old daughter and my speech therapist thinks that oral motor therapy is no use. I tried hard to find more info about Beckman therapy and did not succeed.could you please email me some info to above email. Or if you know a therapist I can get some online help, please let me have the contact.

  17. I was just wondering what tips I should get with the z vibe.

  18. huda's mommy says

    so amazing ..
    when i need to start the z vibe.?

  19. Hello,
    Thank you for sharing this information! My daughter does not have downs, but she has asymetrical crying facies. Would these exercises be helpful to get her to use the side of her mouth that is effected?
    If so, what are the best resources to use?
    Thank you! Shannon

  20. Hello everyone!

    Rick – thank you so much for sharing your experience with the Z-Vibe! We’re beyond thrilled that it’s been helpful for Noah 🙂

    We’re ARK, the inventor/manufacturer of the Z-Vibe. To answer some of your questions:

    Here is the product page for the Z-Vibe (which includes a video, FAQs, benefits/uses, etc.):

    All of the Z-Vibe accessories can be found at the link below. Check out the kits for the best deals:

    A lot of therapists/parents start using the Z-Vibe at the age of 5-6 months for oral stimulation, sensory development, and feeding. Some start earlier, and it can even be used through geriatrics if needed. But in general, the starting age really depends on the needs and goals of your child. It’s best to ask your speech/occupational therapist when you should start using the Z-Vibe.

    Some additional blog posts / info on the Z-Vibe:
    What is oral motor therapy, why is it important for speech and feeding development, where does the Z-Vibe come in, and what are some examples of oral motor exercises?
    Why is vibration helpful?
    More oral motor exercises:
    A brief intro to most of the tip attachments:
    Oral defensiveness and food/texture aversions:

    Below is another post that details additional products, strategies, and tips that are particularly helpful for children who have Down syndrome:

    If you have any questions, just shoot us an email at


  21. Curious Human says

    Does the Z-vibe need to be turn on while using it?

  22. Marie Madeleine says

    Thank you so much fo this blog! It really helped me in our decision to keep our DS baby before he was born in 2014. (Btw: we live in Hungary.)

    Thanks God Aron is in a really good shape for a DS baby boy in all regards. However, and this is how I got back to your blog again, we have a problem with his tongue protrusion. He is protruding it often, even though therapists say his face muscles are very strong. And he has already severely bitten it at least 4 times.

    So I am very much looking for other reasons than hypotonia (or it is possible that only his tongue is hypotone? But he is very good at chewing…) and other solutions. I am grateful for more information on Z-vibe s well! 🙂

  23. MARY HILLIKER says

    Hi, my son Nicky just turned one, he was also born with down syndrome and is the light of my life. He is a happy little guy with a big personality! I would love my more info on the z-vibe. Nicky has a G.I. feeding tube because of low tone and aspiration, he is always playing with his tongue, either sticking it out, licking things or just sucking on it, he’s also a big raspberry blower. Any advice or info on how I can help him would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Mary

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