Cleft palate, a birth defect in which the roof of the mouth is incompletely developed, is a condition which will result in speech disorders in children. With speech and language pathology, a knowledgeable therapist will use methods of cleft palate speech therapy for minimizing speech impediments between and after surgical procedures performed to correct the condition. Since cleft palate will lead to delayed speech and other speech disorders, cleft palate speech therapy is of the utmost importance. With a structured cleft palate speech therapy program, the possibility of the child outgrowing any speech impediments is very good.
A child born with cleft palate will have difficulties with normal speech sounds. Voices will not project very clearly, and may have somewhat of a nasally tone making the child hard to understand. With cleft palate speech therapy, a child can overcome some of those speech difficulties. In fact, cleft palate speech therapy is known to be highly valuable for speech delays, articulation, and elevated nasal tones. A child will have a better production of sound while developing effective speech and language habits. When cleft palate speech therapy is put into action at the earliest possible age, the child will have a better prognosis of overcoming any speech impediments which can otherwise continue throughout a lifetime.
There are various methods a therapist may use, depending on the severity of the child’s condition. This is also true for the duration in which cleft palate speech therapy is needed. If the cleft palate condition involves a dental anomaly, therapy for articulation will be used along with the dental treatment. There are times that therapy alone is not the answer. In many cases, multiple surgeries are needed to correct the cleft palate. With the expertise of a speech and language pathologist along with the surgeon, however, the appropriate surgery will be performed for optimal results. With a successful surgical procedure and continuing cleft palate speech therapy, any speech disorders in children resulting from this condition will be successfully minimized.