Visit our foundation to give a gift.
View Locations Near Me
Main Campus – Hartford
Connecticut Children’s – Waterbury
Urgent Care – Farmington
Specialty Care Center – Danbury
Connecticut Children’s Surgery Center at Farmington
Specialty Care Center – Fairfield
Search All Locations
Find a doctor
Find A Doctor
Request an Appointment
Amenities and Services
Who’s Who on Care Team
Getting Ready for Surgery
What to Expect—Picture Stories
Pay a Bill
Understanding the Different Fees
Pricing Transparency and Estimates
United Technologies Family Resource Center
Family Advisory Council
Legal Advocacy: Benefits, Education, Housing
Electronic Health Records
Share Your Story
Pay a Bill
Login to MyChart
Clinical Support Services Referrals
About the Network
Join the Network
Graduate Medical Education
Continuing Medical Education
MOC/Practice Quality Improvement
Educating Practices in the Community (EPIC)
Learning & Performance
Meet our Physician Relations Team
Request Medical Records
Join our Referring Provider Advisory Board
View our Physician Callback Standards
Read & Subscribe to Medical News
Register for Email Updates
Update Your Practice Information
Refer a Patient
Find and Print Health Info
Health Information For Parents
Speech-language therapy is care that helps kids:
Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) — also called speech therapists — treat many types of communication and swallowing problems. They have at least a master’s degree and state certification/licensure in the field, and a certificate of clinical competency from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA).
Speech-language pathologists help kids with speech disorders (like stuttering), hearing problems, and other medical conditions, including cleft palate.
SLPs who work with children with cleft palate have extra training to recognize and treat specific problems caused by a cleft palate. Children born with a cleft palate may need speech-language therapy to help with problems such as:
An articulation disorder is when a child has trouble making specific sounds. “Cleft palate speech” refers to speech sound errors that are more common in kids with a cleft palate. These include:
A resonance disorder refers to an unusual amount of nasal sound energy when the child is talking, which can result in:
Hypernasality may mean that the child’s palate is not working properly, called velopharyngeal (vee-low-fair-en-JEE-ul) dysfunction. This can make it hard for others to understand the child’s speech, and might need further treatment.
Speech therapy works best when a speech-language pathologist works one-on-one with a child. Sometimes, though, therapy is done in small groups.
The main goals to help children with “cleft palate speech” are to:
Speech therapy should begin as soon as possible. Children who start speech therapy early tend to have greater success. Therapy also can help older kids, but their progress can be slower because their motor patterns are more ingrained.
Support from parents is key to the success of a child’s progress in speech therapy. Kids who complete the program quickest and with the longest-lasting results are those whose parents are involved.
Your therapist should give homework for you and your child to do after each session. Helping your child complete these activities will ensure continued progress and carryover of new skills. For example, practicing the P sound for 30 minutes a week in therapy is much more effective when it’s also done for 10 minutes a day at home.
The process of overcoming a speech or language disorder can take some time and effort. So it’s important that all family members be patient and understanding.
The American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association (ACPA) lists cleft teams by state on their website. To be accredited by the ACPA, each team must have a speech-language pathologist on staff. Your team SLP can recommend other cleft-trained SLPs in your area if you want to use school-based and/or private services. Ask the local SLPs:
The SLP should be certified by ASHA.
Sometimes, speech assistants (who usually have a 2-year associate’s or 4-year bachelor’s degree) may assist with speech-language services under the supervision of ASHA-certified SLPs. Your child’s SLP should be licensed in your state and have experience working with kids and your child’s specific disorder.
A cleft palate is when a baby is born with a cleft (gap) in the roof of the mouth. Most kids can have surgery to repair them early in life.
A cleft palate with a cleft lip is when a baby’s lip and palate (roof of mouth) don’t form properly during pregnancy. Most kids with cleft lip and palate are treated successfully with no lasting problems.
In a submucous cleft palate, the muscles of the palate don’t form properly, but the tissue that lines the roof of the mouth does. This makes these clefts harder to see.
Working with a certified speech-language pathologist can help a child with speech or language difficulties.
What teachers should know about students with speech impairments, and what teachers can do to help them succeed in school.
Hearing problems can be overcome if they’re caught early, so it’s important to get your child’s hearing screened early and checked regularly.
Many young kids go through a stage when they stutter. Stuttering usually goes away on its own but in some cases lasts longer.
Vocal cord dysfunction means that the vocal cords partially close during breathing, so air has more trouble getting through.
A nasopharyngoscopy is an exam doctors do to view the back of the throat.
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
© 1995-2020 KidsHealth®. All rights reserved.
Images provided by The Nemours Foundation, iStock, Getty Images, Veer, Shutterstock, and Clipart.com.