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ARK's Z-Vibe® is a vibratory oral motor tool that can help build oral tone and improve a variety of speech, feeding, and sensory skills. Use it to provide a varied sensory experience and/or to provide targeted tactile cues within the oral cavity. Its gentle vibration provides a new level of sensory stimulation to increase oral focus and draw more attention to the lips, tongue, cheeks, and jaw. Vibration can also be very calming, soothing, and organizing.
The Z-Vibe®'s sleek, innovative design features a lightweight, plastic hand piece with gentle bumps around its circumference for a non-slip grip. This texture can also be brushed along the cheeks, arms, hands, etc. for additional tactile input. The handle comes with a blue Probe Tip on one end and a Switch Tip on the other. Use the Probe Tip for oral motor assessment and development. To turn the unit on, simply twist the Switch Tip at the opposite end of the handle just until the unit starts to vibrate (please do not over-tighten).
WARNING: Choking Hazard. Adult supervision required. This item is not returnable.
Why It Works
Most of us are either visual or auditory learners. But when these two senses are not enough, you may need to physically direct the articulators for certain speech and feeding skills. ARK's Z-Vibe® is an ideal tool to help you do so. Therapists (and trained caregivers) can use it to provide targeted tactile cues within the oral cavity to teach tongue elevation, tongue lateralization, lip closure, rotary chewing, and much more. For example, use the Z-Vibe® to apply gentle pressure to the alveolar ridge (just behind the upper front teeth). Then remove the Z-Vibe® and instruct the individual to touch the same spot with his/her tongue tip. You can also follow up by prompting the individual to say the tongue tip sounds /t/d/n/l/.
When just touching the lips, tongue, cheeks, etc. doesn’t provide enough input, simply turn the Z-Vibe® on. Its gentle vibration provides a new level of tactile awareness for additional sensory feedback, to help "wake up" the mouth, and to draw more acute attention to specific movements of the cheek, jaw, lips, and tongue.
Please note that by no means does an individual have to use vibration to acquire skills for feeding and articulation. Some people simply do not like vibration - and that's ok! Even without vibration, the Z-Vibe® can still provide a vast range of sensory stimulation.
Increase Oral Awareness: The Z-Vibe is highly recommended for individuals with hyposensitivities and low oral tone. Its gentle vibration will increase oral awareness and provide much needed proprioceptive input to the lips, cheeks, tongue, and jaw. For sensory-seekers who crave oral stimulation, massaging the gums with the Soft Brush Tip is particularly effective.
Decrease Oral Sensitivities and Food/Texture Aversions: The Z-Vibe is also recommended for hypersensitive individuals. In these cases, vibration as well as the various textures/shapes of the tips can gradually desensitize the mouth and decrease oral aversions and sensory defensiveness.
Calm and Soothe: Vibration can be a very helpful tool for calming and organizing. The Z-Vibe's smooth vibration provides gentle sensory feedback to the lips, gums, tongue, jaw, and inside the cheek area. This oral input can help decrease self-biting or chewing on one's hands, shirts, pencils, etc. While it is mostly used inside the oral cavity, it can also be used outside the mouth on the cheeks, neck, and arms for additional feedback.
Transition from Puréed to Textured Foods: The Textured Spoon Tips have a textured surface on the back side of the spoon. Use these tips with the Z-Vibe in order to gradually introduce new textures during feeding. Or, use the ears of the Animal Tips to feed and allow the individual to mouth the tips and explore their various textures and shapes.
Increase Interest in Therapy: Use the Z-Vibe with the friendly Animal Tips and/or the Popette Tip with a lollipop in order to spark attention and increase participation in therapy.
Teach Biting and Chewing Skills: Use the Z-Vibe with Bite-n-Chew Tips to develop and improve the oral motor skills necessary for feeding, including a sustained bite, rhythmic chewing, jaw strength and stability, and more. These tips are available in extra long (XL) versions that can reach all the way to the back molar area. The Animal Tips can be used to practice mouthing, biting, chewing, and jaw grading and stability. And the Bite Tube Tips can be used with real foods for functional biting/chewing practice. Because they're hollow, the Bite Tube Tips are also recommended for those with a weak bite.
Develop Oral Motor Skills: The Z-Vibe provides a safe and effective way to work on the oral motor skills necessary to make speech sounds and to manage food. These skills include: lip/cheek/tongue awareness, lip closure, lip extension, jaw stability and grading, tongue and jaw dissociation, tongue elevation, tongue retraction and protrusion, tongue lateralization, and a tongue bowl. Using the Z-Vibe, therapists and caregivers can target specific movements within the oral cavity - physically demonstrating where the tongue, lips, and jaw should be for each skill. For specific exercises on how to improve these goals, consult our blog, video directory, and Tips & Techniques for the Z-Vibe® & Z-Grabber®.
Improve Oral Hygiene: Use the Brush Tips for gentle gum massage and teeth cleaning and to transition individuals into the eventual use of a regular toothbrush. The Tongue Tip, Popette, and Floss Tips can also be used for dental care with the Z-Vibe.
Work on Writing Skills: When used with the Pen, Pencil, or Crayon Tips, the Z-Vibe becomes the Tran-Quill™ Pen/Pencil/Crayon - an excellent tool for sensory motor needs. The vibration increases focus and attention while working on handwriting, homework, and other writing tasks, but does not affect the actual writing.