On May 14, several parents along with a number of speech therapists and clinicians were fortunate to hear a lecture on speech disorders related to cleft palate. The event was sponsored by FFC and took place at Boston Children’s Hospital.
In the Fall of 2015, The Foundation for Faces of Children took its first step toward the goal of providing our families with programs promoting positive self-esteem and strategies for coping with anxiety. The event, “Facing the World: Optimal Strategies for Children & Families with a Facial Difference,” launched our plan to offer better psychological support to our craniofacial families. One aspect of the program highlighted techniques for focusing on mindfulness to elicit a relaxation response and reduce feelings of anxiety and depression.
In the past six months, two important studies have been published from the Department of Dentistry at Boston Children’s Hospital (BCH). These studies investigate the affects of using the Latham appliance in infants with unilateral complete cleft lip and palate.
The only technique available in the early days of surgical correction of craniosynostosis was the simple release of the fused suture via a large scalp incision. While effective in some children, this method had a high failure rate because the cranial bones would fuse back together before the brain was able to re- create the normal shape of the skull.
On August 6, Governor Deval Patrick signed a law mandating insurance coverage for treatment of cleft lip and/or palate for children under the age of 18. A ceremonial signing, attended by supporters, was held at the State House on October 1.
Robin Sequence: More Than a Receding Chin
By John Mulliken, MD, Director, Craniofacial Centre, Boston Children’s Hospital
Children born with Robin sequence (named for an early 20th century French physician; pronounced row-BAN) have a lower jaw that is smaller than normal (micrognathia) or set back from the upper jaw (retrognathia).
A baby’s brain grows rapidly before birth and during infancy. The brain has room to grow, because, early on, the head is not solid. Instead, it consists of a number of bones, known as plates, separated by narrow openings. As the brain enlarges, the plates also gradually grow toward each other. The junctions where the plates meet are called sutures.
We all have differences. Our looks or how we speak or act can make other people curious about us and may lead to teasing and bullying. Children and teens with facial differences can sometimes feel left out or put down through no fault of their own. Preparing for attention and questions from classmates, strangers, or others can help build confidence in social situations.
Children with cleft lip and palate and other craniofacial conditions generally have normal language development — learning of words and sentence structure — but may have problems producing the different sounds necessary for speech. Speech-language pathologists, who have completed a two-year master’s degree program as well as a fellowship, are important members of the craniofacial team at Children’s Hospital Boston.