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.
Our first guest speaker, Eileen Marrinan, MS, CCC, MPH, Director of the Upstate Cleft and Craniofacial Center at SUNY Upstate Medical University in New York was formerly on the Boston Children’s cleft team. She shared before and after videos related to specific speech issues in a child with cleft palate. She stressed the importance of parental involvement and that, when given the correct information, they are the ones who make the largest difference with their child’s speech.
Liza Catallozzi, MS, CCC-SLP, is presently a speech therapist on the Boston Children’s Cleft team. She reiterated what Eileen had to say, but broke down the child’s milestones and what to expect from speech at each stage of development. Emphasis was again placed on the parents’ involvement and the importance of following through with therapy and exercises for their child. Early intervention and school speech therapy may not always meet the child’s needs.
A child with a history of cleft palate should see a cleft speech therapist at least annually for a formal evaluation up to age 12. Recommendations can then be conveyed to local speech therapists for continued work. Yearly speech assessments may be necessary until adulthood, especially if the child undergoes surgical procedures in the teenage years.
The following book was recommended to parents: “Children with Cleft Lip and Palate: A Parent’s Guide to Early Speech-Language Development and Treatment” written by Mary Hardin-Jones, Kathy Chapman, and Nancy Scherer (available for purchase on Amazon).
We hope to host another seminar on Speech and Language this fall. If you are interested, please be sure to let us know by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 617-355-8299. We will be providing child care with activities to enable both parents to attend our next seminar.