Professor becomes first certified orofacial myologist in the state

Marshall University professor Bryn Brown has become the first and currently only IAOM Board Certified Orofacial Myologist in the state of West Virginia.

The prestigious certification is provided by the International Association of Orofacial Myology (IAOM). It’s one that few speech-language pathologists earn. Based on the IAOM standards, a certified orofacial myologist is an individual who has gone above and beyond taking an introductory course in orofacial myology and has undergone a rigorous certification process which includes a written examination, a query submission and an onsite clinical examination process.

The American Speech Language Hearing Association (ASHA) states that children, teenagers, and adults may suffer from Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders (OMDs). OMDs may interfere with normal growth and development of the muscles and bones of the face and mouth. OMDs may also interfere with how the muscles of the face and mouth are used for eating, talking, and breathing. People who have an OMD may have problems with talking, swallowing, and breathing through their nose.

Brown says it’s something she cares deeply about.

“To coach young children and adults through orofacial myofunctional treatment, to assist with improving their eating, chewing, swallowing, and/or articulation and being a part of their journey is one of my greatest rewards,” Brown said. “Learning to collaborate with other professionals such as dentists, orthodontists, and ENTs has been new to me, and I have met many amazing professionals who have answered questions and challenged me to think outside of the box. The certification process was rigorous and challenging, but it helped me to learn the material to better serve my patients.”

Brown graduated from Marshall in 2000 with a master’s degree in communication disorders. She has spent much of her career working with children who have difficulties or delays in feeding and motor planning/speech sound disorders. In recent years, along with OMDs, she has added the identification and treatment of tethered oral tissues to her specialties.

Brown says to be able to help children who deal with these issues means the world.

“To see parents who are having trouble feeding their infant, to a toddler or child who is having trouble chewing/swallowing, to an older child who has been receiving speech therapy and no longer making progress with their speech sounds, or to an adult with TMJ pain or still embarrassed over difficulty producing some speech sounds,” Brown said. “To be able to implement a new (to me) level of treatment through the identification of tethered oral tissues (TOT) or an orofacial myofunctional disorder has been a great addition to my clinical toolbox.”

Pam Holland is an associate professor, chair and graduate program director in the department of communication disorders. Holland says to have Brown as part of the department is vitally important for everyone, most importantly students.

“Marshall University Department of Communication Disorders is committed to recruiting speech-language pathologists and audiologists who are practicing at the top of their license,” Holland said. “This is essential for recruiting students for our undergraduate and graduate programs, but equally important for the University Speech and Hearing Center. When clients are referred to our clinic, they know that they will receive specialized, evidence-based services. In addition to having the first and only IAOM Board Certified Orofacial Myologist in West Virginia, our program also has the only board-certified specialist in swallowing and swallowing disorders and the only listening and spoken language certified auditory verbal educator in the state.”

Bryn Brown is an active member of the International Association of Orofacial Myology, is licensed by the West Virginia Board of Examiner’s for Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists and maintains her Certificate of Clinical Competence through the American Speech-Language Hearing Association.