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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

Download our top tips for babble play leaflet

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

Show Me A Sound

Babble play ideas to encourage speech development in babies and toddlers with cleft palate or cleft lip and palate - 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

Babble advice video


This video has been created to give babble advice to parents and carers of babies born with a cleft palate. There are some quick and simple ways that may help prevent your child from developing bad speech habits, decreasing the need for speech therapy later on.

Cleft SLT Babble Bag instructional video


This is a video produced by the Cleft SLT department at the Welsh Centre for Cleft Lip & Palate to provide ideas for how to use the Babble bags provided by CLAPA. 

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.