Cleft Lip and Palate Guide
Requirements for Normal Speech Development
Your child must hear spoken words clearly.
We all must hear clearly before we can speak. The audiologist will test your child’s hearing and talk with you about any needed treatments.
Your child must have a proper mouth structure.
Most children with a cleft palate can speak normally once their palates are repaired. But some children still have very nasal voices because of air escaping from the nose. These children may need more surgery to close that opening in the future. Your SLP can perform many types of tests to check your child’s speech.
Your child’s intelligence must grow for his or her speech to do the same.
Not all children with speech problems have cognitive (mental) and learning problems. But some children with cleft lip or palate do have developmental delays and cognitive problems. The neuropsychologist on your Craniofacial team can help you monitor your child’s cognitive growth.
Your child must have someone to teach him.
Children learn to speak by listening to the voices of others. You can help your child begin to link spoken words to objects and actions. Talk often to your child about the objects and actions in his world. This includes people, toys, food, playing, bathing and feeding.