Cleft Palate

close up of cleft palate

Around 1 in 700 babies are born with a cleft lip and/or palate. It is a split or separation in the upper lip or roof of the mouth.

This happens during the first few weeks of development in the womb, when the different areas of the mouth fail to join together.

A cleft lip and/or palate can be unilateral (one side) or bilateral (both sides). Cleft lip and palate can affect a child’s feeding, pronunciation of speech and their appearance. There is also a greater risk of having glue ear which may affect hearing.

Cleft and speech and language therapy

Cleft lip and palate are treated at specialist NHS centres with the support of your local clinic, for as long as they need assistance. Children often undergo surgery to repair the cleft lip and palate.

For more information about what to expect from the North Thames Cleft lip and Palate Service

We work together with the specialist team and Audiology to support with feeding, monitoring hearing, surgery and speech sound therapy. You child’s dental health will also be monitored. A small number of children may undergo further corrective surgery if they have nasal sounding speech as there can be increased airflow through the nose when speaking.

NHS Information about Cleft lip and Palate

The Briston Cleft Lip and Palate team have made some videos which may supplement what your child is working on in therapy:

  • Early Babble
  • Input Modelling
  • Nose Holding in Therapy

Please click here to access the videos.

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