Cleft Lip and Palate

It is common for children who are born with a cleft palate to have speech problems at some time in their lives. Over half of them will require speech therapy at some point during childhood. However, many children who are born with a cleft palate develop typical speech by the age of 5 (Cleft palate foundation 2012).

Aims of the Cleft Palate Service

The Speech and Language Therapy appointment will include:

  • Assessment of language and communication skills
  • A summary report detailing your child’s language and communication strengths and needs. This may help to inform your child’s surgeon about progress and needs
  • Language and communication strategy advice

    What to expect

    Assessment of communication skills

    Your child will initially be offered one or more individual appointments to assess his/her language and communication skills in a setting of your choice e.g. home, nursery. This first appointment will take place around 18 months to 2 years.

    During the first visit a case history will be taken. The aim of this is to gather important information about your child. You can expect to be asked questions about the following:

    • Your main concerns
    • Your child’s communication development and general development
    • How and when your child communicates with you and others
    • The effect of your child’s speech, language and communication skills on him/her, the family and nursery/school

    You may find it helpful to bring your red book to this appointment.

    What happens next?

    We may:

    • Work closely with the team at Birmingham Children’s Hospital
    • Offer appointments at regular intervals (e.g. monthly, six weekly). Visiting patterns may vary over time depending upon the individual needs of your child at each stage of his/her development
    • Even if your child is not understanding spoken language or talking we can provide ideas to encourage the development of his or her language and communication
    • Transfer your child to another, more appropriate, part of the service
    • Liaise with other agencies
    • Refer your child to other agencies for support
    • Discharge your child if Speech & Language Therapy is no longer appropriate.

      This will always be agreed through discussion with you.

      Contact details

      For further information please contact Speech & Language Therapy on 01922 605400.

      Walsall Healthcare Speech & Language Therapy Department, Blakenall Village Centre, Thames Road, Blakenall, Walsall, WS3 1LZ