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Cleft Lip and Palate

Definition



A cleft is a gap or split in the upper lip, the roof of the mouth (palate), or sometimes both. It occurs when separate areas of the face do not fuse together correctly when a baby is developing during pregnancy. A cleft on one side is termed a unilateral cleft. If a cleft occurs on both sides it is called a bilateral cleft.

The exact cause of clefts is not known. However, evidence suggests they are often caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors.

Notes


Cleft lip and palate can occur on its own (non-syndromic) or can sometimes be part of a wider series of birth defects (syndromic).

Surgery is the usual treatment for cleft lip and palate, with positive results. Other forms of input may also be required depending on the type of cleft and the individual's needs, such as Speech and Language Therapy and Orthodontics.

How we can help



Our Speech and Language Therapists are able to work with clients to support both their feeding and speech. Not all individual's cleft lip/palate impacts them in the same way and so it is important that appropriate indepth assessments are completed to determine the level of need.

Our therapists will work with you to determine the elements of speech or feeding need to be targeted in order to facilitate the best possible skills. An individualised programme will then be created allowing for work to be completed by the therapist and within the home/care environment.

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