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Cleft Lip & Cleft Palate


A cleft lip is an opening in the lip.  A cleft palate is an opening on the roof of the mouth creating an opening between the nasal cavity and the mouth. There are two parts of the palate the soft and the hard.  The hard palate is bone with tissue over it and the soft palate is made of tissue and muscle.  The hard palate is to the front of the month and the soft palate is towards the back of the mouth.  Cleft Palate/Lip makes it impossible to create the shapes and closure we need in order to make speech sounds.  They also can effect swallowing and mouth closure which can cause other issues beside just speech sounds.

Cleft palate and lip are normally diagnosed at birth, but not always.  The child with a cleft palate my experience middle ear problems.  These problems may cause hearing loss.  It may a good idea to take your child to an ENT (Ears, Nose and Throat Doctor) and an Audiologist. A child with cleft lip many not have speech problems, but a child with cleft palate may. If your child is showing speech delay taking them to an SLP (speech and language pathologist) may improve their speech.  A child who is diagnosed with cleft lip or cleft palate will probably need surgery to fix it.  The surgery may not happen right away, but when your child has reached the appropriate age where the doctor feels that it is time.  Your child may have many different surgeries throughout their development.A child my be born with both a cleft lip and cleft palate. Cleft lips can be unilateral (on one side) or bilateral (on both sides).  A cleft may only go part way threw the lip or palate. A submucous cleft palate is when there is am opening in the bone that is covered by a layer of tissue.

Cerebral Palsy (CP)

Cerebral Palsy (CP)

Cerebral Palsy (CP) is a neurological disorder that appears in infancy and early childhood.  Some children have CP as a result of brain damage from birth to a year.  It may be caused by brain infections or head injuries from a vehicle accident, fall or child abuse. It permanently affects muscle coordination muscle movement.  CP will not worsen over time.  The majority of children born with CP are diagnosis between one month to a year.  CP is caused by abnormalities in the brain that control muscle movement.  The signs of CP usually appear before the age of three.

Signs of CP

  • Ataxia- lack of muscle coordination when preforming voluntary movement
  • Spasticity - stiff or tight muscle and exaggerated reflex
  • Walking with one foot or leg dragging
  • Muscle tone is stiff or floppy

There is no cure for CP, but therapy will often improve a child's capabilities.  The earlier the treatment begins the better chance a child with CP will overcome developmental disabilities or learning new methods to accomplish the task that are challenging to them.  There are different types of therapy that may help children with CP, physical, occupational, speech, drugs to control seizures, relax muscle spasms and alleviate pain. Surgery may needed to correct anatomical abnormalities of release tight muscles. Children with CP may need brace and other orthotic devices, wheelchairs, and rolling walkers.  Some CP children may need AAC (Augmentative Alternative Communication) devices to help the child communicate.

Childhood Apraxia

Childhood Apraxia

Childhood Apraxia (CAS) is a motor speech disorder. That means that the child may have difficulty programming and planning speech movements, and it may impact his/her phonologic and linguistic development.  Because there are many other disorders that share the same behaviors as apraxia this is not an easy disorder to diagnosis. These disorders include dysarthria, speech delay, fluency disorders, expressive & receptive language impairments, literacy disorders, and phonological impairments.  Sometimes CAS can occur at the same time as one or more of these disorders.

There are no agreed upon symptoms for CAS. It is hard to identify the symptoms because not all professionals agree on what they are.

Here are some of the speech motor behaviors associated with CAS:

  • Slow speech development
  • Difficulty with repetitions
  • Multiple Speech Sound Errors
  • Reduce Intelligibilities
  • Vowel Errors
  • Inconsistency of Errors
  • Increase of errors in longer or more complex syllables and word shapes.

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