Cleft palate and cleft lip are the types of birth defects. It is a split or opening in the roof of the mouth. Due to the cleft palate, people often suffer from feeding problems, speech problems, hearing problems, and frequent ear infections.
In most cases, causes are unknown. But risk factors include smoking during pregnancy, obesity, diabetes, an older mother, and certain medications.
Baby with a cleft can be upsetting, but the cleft lip and cleft palate can be corrected.
If you need more information or you have a question regarding Cleft Palate Surgery or Speech Therapy, you can discuss it with our HearingSol healthcare professionals, just give us a call on +91-9899437202. We are always here to help you.
A series of surgeries can restore normal function and achieve a more normal appearance with minimal scarring in most babies.
Symptoms of cleft palate
A split can be identified immediately after birth.
The cleft lip and cleft palate may appear as:
A split in the lip and roof of the mouth (palate) that affects one or both sides of the face or a split in the roof of the mouth that doesn’t affect the appearance of the face.
Cleft palate interference with speech
The roof of the mouth has a hard palate (bony part in the front) and a soft palate (made of tissues, in the back). An opening in the palate means opening between the mouth and the nose cannot close properly (known as velopharyngeal dysfunction-VPD) results in excessive airflow from the nose while speaking, also called hypernasality. Despite this can be rectified with surgery, some youngsters still undergo VPD.
A cleft palate can be treated with surgery (performed between 6 and 12 months). For appropriate treatment, speech therapy and dental care may also be required.
Speech Therapy for Cleft Palate Speech Errors
- Low-tech tools for example-
- A dental mirror placed under the nose
- Stethoscope (against a side of the nose)
- Plastic tubing or drinking straw for self-monitoring (one end at nostril entrance and the other end is placed by the ear)
- Nasometer- It helps to monitor oral versus nasal speech used in cases of nasalization errors.
- Pharyngeal Plosives- When the base of the tongue moves backward against the pharynx, a tongue blade can be used to press the end of the tongue downward as the SLP presses upward under the chin, resulting successfully producing “ng” sound.
- Pharyngeal Fricatives- It is produced when the base of the tongue could not able to make contact with the pharyngeal wall. The SLP first practices to make a loud “t” sound, followed by a “ts”, “ch”, or “sh” sounds by rounding the lips.
- Palatal-Dorsal Productions- In this method, a child will practice producing sounds like the “t,” “d,” and “n” sounds. At the same time, produce the “k,” “g,” and “ng” sounds in case of malocclusion of the teeth.
- Nasopharyngoscopy- To provide the visual evaluation of the actions of the VP mechanism during the speech.
- Electropalatography (EPG)- A computer-based technique for teaching correct oral articulation placements; EPG provides a visual observation display of the tongue’s contact with the hard palate during speech (e.g. Lee, Law, & Gibbon).
Hence, cleft lip and cleft palate is really treatable. However, the kind of treatment depends on the type and severity of the cleft. Fortunately, an SLP is quite helpful for achieving measurable progress in the speech in the case of cleft palate.
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