Cleft Lip and Palate
Some babies are born with a gap (cleft) in their lip, gum (alveolus) or roof of their mouth (palate). Some babies can be born with a gap in just their lip (isolated cleft lip), just the roof of their mouth (isolated cleft palate) or they may have a gap in all three. Children with an isolated cleft lip (a gap in only their lip) do not usually have speech difficulties related to their cleft.
Children who were born with a cleft palate will have contact with a speech and language therapist from a very early age to provide advice on how best to encourage speech development and as their speech develops. Many children born with a cleft palate will develop speech like a child who was born without a cleft palate. However, some children may require ongoing support specific to their cleft and some may require support with speech difficulties which are not related to their cleft. The level of support provided varies from child to child as this is dependent on their individual needs.
Within East Coast Community Healthcare (ECCH) we have specialist speech and language therapists who work in partnership with the Cleft.NET.East team. We also liaise with the Great Ormond Street Hospital Team.
Click here to access the information leaflets produced by Cleft.NET.East
Say and Play Together
Activities to encourage early language development in children with cleft palate or cleft lip and palate, including modelling words, offering choices and turn-taking - a film for parents and carers
*NOTE: The objects and toys in this film are suitable for use with young children under full adult supervision
Non-Cleft Velopharyngeal Dysfunction (VPD)
We also provide support to children who have non-cleft VPD. This is where the palate is not closing firmly against the back of the throat to seal the nose off from the mouth and so the child may have too much air through the nose when speaking (hyper-nasal tone) and the child’s speech may be difficult to understand.
Normal Palate Function
This Video shows normal palate function where the palate lifts during speech to close firmly against the back of the throat, sealing the mouth off from the nose.
VPD Short Palete
The video below shows what happens when there is VPD, the palate still lifts but it is not able to close firmly against the back of the throat and so leaves a gap where air is able to escape through the nose during speech.
Cleft Net EAST
For information about cleft lip and palate, please visit Cleft Net EAST:
Cleft Net EAST information leaflets
There are also a number of useful information leaflets available on their website
CamSmile East of England Cleft Charity
Operation Smile, Global Cleft Chairty
Cleft Registry Audit Network (CRANE)
The Cleft Collective
NHS Choices Information on Cleft Lip & palate