What is a cleft palate/lip?

A cleft palate/lip occurs when parts of the lip or palate do not completely fuse together during the first three Cleft Palate/Lipmonths of pregnancy. Cleft palates and cleft lips vary in size. For example, if a child has a cleft palate, the defect may only affect the soft palate, or it may be a complete cleft that involves the hard palate. The palate and lips develop separately, therefore, a child may have a cleft lip only, a cleft palate only or both. Furthermore, it can occur on one side of the mouth, known as unilateral clefting, or it may occur on both sides which is known as bilateral clefting.

What causes a cleft palate/lip?

A cleft palate/lip can be caused by a number of different things. Most often, the cause is not known and can not be determined. A cleft palate/lip can be genetic and therefore run in families. It could also occur as part of a syndrome, which means that there are other birth defects in other parts of the body. It may also be the result of environmental factors including the use of medication during pregnancy, exposure to cigarette smoke or a lack of vitamins during pregnancy. A cleft palate/lip is usually diagnosed right after the baby is born.

How can I help treat my child’s condition?

A number of different professionals may be involved in the treatment and care of a cleft palate/lip. The following are some of the professionals who may be involved:

  • geneticist
  • pediatrician
  • plastic surgeon
  • ear, nose, and throat physician (otolaryngologist)
  • oral surgeon
  • orthodontist
  • dentist
  • speech-language pathologist
  • audiologist
  • nurse
  • social worker
  • psychologist
  • team coordinator

A speech-language pathologist is responsible for working with children whose cleft palate/lip causes speech or feeding problems. The most common speech problem for children with a cleft palate is hypernasality. This occurs because the palate is unable to close off the nose from the mouth, thus air escapes from the nose. The child will sound like he/she is talking out of his nose, rather than out of his/her mouth. Children with a cleft palate/lip may also have an articulation disorder or speech delay.

Feeding problems are greater and more common in children with a cleft palate, as compared to those with a cleft lip. The palate is responsible for keeping food and liquid from entering the nose. If the palate is not intact, the baby will have a difficult time sucking a regular nipple. As a result, a special nipple and bottle will be used, in addition to certain positioning of the baby.

Our Approach at North Shore Pediatric Therapy

At North Shore Pediatric Therapy, our therapists will begin by completing a thorough evaluation. After the evaluation, the therapists will use an approach that is appropriate to the speech-language problem. Speech therapy can help improve the hypernasality, articulation problems or speech delay.

Client Reviews (16)

NSPT provided me with an exceptional learning opportunity to further my clinical skills as a SLP student. I left NSPT with more knowledge in my field and more confidence in myself as a clinician. The positive environment, interdisciplinary team work, and everlasting support at NSPT made my externship placement truly wonderful!

Maddie

NSPT provided me the opportunity to not only gain more clinicial skills in my area of study, but also alllowed me to better understand and experience what other clinicial professions do. I appreciated the feedback and experiences here at NSPT and am so happy I had the opportunity to work alongside other therapists!

Frances

My daughter saw Zoe in Glenview for feeding therapy starting when she was 6 months old. We were very concerned because she was losing weight and refusing to eat solids. From the first session, Zoe was able to work with our baby to not only get her to try foods, but to take an active interest in them. Zoe also provided tremendous comfort to us by sharing her breadth of professional and personal knowledge on infant feeding. Our baby is nearly 1 year old now and she is a happy, healthy eater (though still a little picky). We are so grateful to Zoe for starting us on this path.

Matt Galin

My son has been receiving speech therarpy here for the past 3 years. If it wasn’t for the intellect of the therapist he was working with we would have never discovered that he has APD. Through hard work over the course of the years, my son has blossomed into a talking machine. I highly recommend NSPT for all your kids needs.

Carla Robinson

Our son Ian received speech therapy from Ms. Katie 2x per week for 6 months. We were so thrilled to see his confidence increasing as his verbal skills improved. While we have moved out-of-state & no longer go to NSPT, I am hopeful that we will find a therapy center that is as wonderful & caring as they were!

Stephanie Long

NSTP has managed to turn a difficult and sometimes frustrating situation into a fun and educational experience for my 6 year old daughter. Their confidence, willingness to explain every detail of what they do and what they have planned for my daughters sessions has been a life saver to me. The enthusiasm and confidence I encounter with her therapists is not only a needed relief to me as a parent but is also picked up by my daughter and can been seen in her interactions with the therapists and other children as we walk into the office.

Ben

North Shore Pediatric Therapy provides a supportive and fun educational atmosphere for both clinical interns and clients. I learned a lot from both my supervisor as well as the rest of the team, made of clinicians from the fields of speech-language pathology, occupational therapy, physical therapy, and social work. I received constructive feedback, had access to a variety of helpful treatment and diagnostic materials, and experienced providing services to a variety of clients and their families. Overall, I learned a lot during my time at NSPT and will be very sad not to spend more time there.

Stephanie Long

My 3-year-old receives speech therapy at NSPT. I’ve been so happy with the progress she’s making in this area. She has been learning new words and phrases and is incorporating them at home, which has been great! I’m impressed with the concern and level of care of the therapists at NSPT.

Pamela S

My son is making wonderful progress with voice volume and enunciation! We love Jaclyn! Thank you for your loving support!

Lisa D

I have three children who have been coming to NSPT since October 2012 in the Glenview office. The therapists are amazing with my children. They are very caring and kind and they love working with children. My son reached all of his goals after one year of being with his therapist. My other two kids are showing a lot of progress and improvement in their speech. I am very happy with the services my kids are receiving.

Weam S

My son (now 4 1/2) has been coming to Speech Therapy at North Shore Pediatric Therapy in Highland Park for 9 months. When he started, he was fairly unintelligible, and we were very concerned. Thanks to the amazing SLPs at NSPT, my son has greatly improved and is so much more intelligible. While we still have a ways to go I believe we are on the right track. I no longer have to translate everything he says to everyone. We are thrilled with the speech services our son has received.

Leah B

My son has been going for speech and ot for almost a year and Ellyn and Katie have been so great working with my son. since starting at north shore pediatric therapy he has really shown huge improvement and has made everyday life easier for my son. they have been great.

Merrick

My son (now 4) has been coming to Speech Therapy at North Shore Pediatric Therapy in Glenview for over a year. When he started, he could barely form words was somewhat unintelligible, and we were obviously very concerned. Everyone used to tell me that one day he would be talking so much I would just want him to stop, but I had a hard time believing them. Thanks to the amazing SLPs at NSPT, it’s true! My son now speaks in full sentences, is fully intelligible, has gained an enormous amount of self-confidence, and I do sometimes think “when is this kid going to be quiet?”. Haha – Needless to say we are thrilled with the speech services our son has received.

Jennifer N

North Shore Pediatric Therapy provides a positive and fun learning environment for their clients. I enjoyed working alongside the therapists in a multi-disciplinary setting and I learned a lot from the experience!

Tanya Noronha

Since my family put my autistic sister into speech therapy in North Shore Pediatric Therapy she had improved in her speech and developed new words, and found confidence in trying to speak more and Maureen is very happy, because everybody is very friendly and pays attention to her needs.

Anonymous

My 22 month old son has been coming to Speech Therapy here at North Shore Pediatric Therapy in Bucktown since last fall (2013). He has been seeing Jessica Jamicich. Jessica is a warm, kind and extremely caring Speech Therapist who is wonderful with children with developmental delays. Currently, he is working on action words and two word phrases. My husband and I are extremely please with his speech development. Jessica has been instrumental in helping his speech development along.

Melinda V

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