Cleft Lip, Palate and Velopharyngeal Dysfunction
Children with a structural issue in their soft palate may have difficulty speaking. Air may come out of their nose, or they may be very unintelligible. Our speech-language pathologists work closely with your child's surgeon and medical team to make sure we're providing the most comprehensive care possible.
Our team has specialized training in feeding, articulation and resonance disorders associated with cleft palate and craniofacial disorders and structural issues. In addition to providing care within our system, we collaborate with your child's school and community therapists. This coordinated effort helps ensure consistency in treatment and the best possible outcome for your child.
When you bring your child to Cook Children's speech therapy, you're choosing a team that uses the most up-to-date, evidence-based diagnostics and treatments for feeding, articulation and resonance disorders.
Care that's family centered
We know that having a child who needs ongoing speech-language therapy also impacts the whole family. Our speech-language pathologists will work with you and your child to develop goals for treatment, while keeping your family's needs in mind. We also include your family members in every part of your child's speech therapy – from evaluation to discharge.
What we treat
- Cleft lip and/or palate
- Submucous cleft
- Velopharyngeal insufficiency
- Syndromes with craniofacial involvement
What to expect
At Cook Children's, we know that therapy is a big commitment for you and your family to make. That's why we're committed to getting your child and family back to everyday life as quickly as possible.
From the very beginning, we'll work with you to develop a treatment plan that fits the needs of your child and family. As your child's needs change our therapists will adjust the treatment plan accordingly. There may also be planned breaks in therapy for surgeries or other medical treatments.
The treatments your child needs will change as they grow.
- Infants: You and your child may need to learn to feed with a special bottle.
- Toddlers and preschoolers: As your child's communication begins to develop, we'll monitor how their language and speech skills grow. Therapy may be needed if your child doesn't say as many words as they should, or if air escapes from their nose when talking.
- School-age children and adolescents: We'll continue to watch your child's speech quality and work on helping them talk more clearly. If your child needs additional palate surgeries or dental work, they may need speech therapy afterward.
Our speech-language pathologists meet with every family at their newborn appointment with Cleft, Craniofacial & Plastic Surgery. They can help with any feeding issues your child may have. They're also there to answer your questions and teach you how to use special bottles for feeding.
This procedure helps your child's surgeon make decisions about the treatment to recommend. It can be done with children as young as 4-5 years of age, as long as they're able to repeat words and sentences.
Your child is awake during this procedure. They'll be given a nasal spray medicine first to numb the passageway. Then a thin scope with a tiny camera is put into their nose until it reaches toward the back of the throat. Your child will repeat words and phrases while the camera records how their palate moves.
This procedure helps your child's surgeon make decisions about which treatment to recommend. It may also be done in children who are too young for, or cannot do, nasopharyngoscopy.
Your child will be awake during this procedure. They'll stand in front of a large X-ray machine and repeat words and phrases with the therapist using a microphone to record the sounds. A camera records an X-ray of the speech muscles as they move while your child is talking.
This test helps your child's therapist and surgeon know how much sound is coming through your child's nose, and how much comes through their mouth. Your child will hold a device with handlebars up to their face and say some words or sentences with pictures. The computer will record and study the sounds.
We provide speech therapy at our outpatient clinics. Therapy sessions are usually once or twice a week, for an hour or less. Some insurances may help cover the cost.
If your child is unable to come into the clinic for treatment, speech therapy can also be provided through teletherapy. Teletherapy sessions are usually once or twice a week, for an hour or less. It's important to note that evaluations and re-evaluations can't be completed through teletherapy. Your insurance may or may not cover teletherapy services.