July is Cleft Palate & Craniofacial Awareness Month

July is National Cleft & Craniofacial Awareness & Prevention Month

Play Works Gorge Children's Therapies 

provides feeding and speech therapy for children (and families) affected by cleft palate and other craniofacial disorders. Cleft lip and palate affect more than 6,800 individuals and their families each year. 

Before the palate is repaired, there is no separation between the nasal cavity and the mouth. This means that the child cannot build up air pressure in the mouth because air escapes out of the nose, and there is less tissue on the roof of the mouth for the tongue to touch. Both of these problems can make it difficult for the child to learn how to make some sounds. Articulation problems may persist in some children throughout early childhood for a variety of reasons. 

The speech-language pathologist has many responsibilities and should see a child with cleft palate regularly. The SLP should consistently assess speech and language development, as well as screen for hearing problems. In addition to evaluating speech, the SLP can help your child minimize feeding difficulties, offering guidance on adapted feeding techniques.  Our treatment team will help you determine which cleft palate nurser or other feeding system works best for your child. 

Cleft Palate Foundation operates a 24 hour hotline assisting parents and adult patients with questions about cleft lip and palate and other craniofacial anomalies. CPF also provides referrals to cleft palate/craniofacial teams, distributes free educational publications, and awards annual scientific research grants. Find them on the web at www.cleftline.org and info@cleftline.org

Emily Mashburn