Communication Disability In Cleft Lip Or Cleft Palate
Cleft Lip is called Cheiloschisis. Cleft Palate is called Palatoschisis. Colloquially they are known as Harelip. This condition is present prior to the birth (congenital) caused by abnormal facial development of a child during pregnancy. A gap or an opening is called a Cleft, which is caused due to non-fusion of some structure in the body. When the cleft appears on lips without affecting the palate, it is named as Cleft Lip. When two plates of the skull are not joined to form the hard palate (roof of the mouth), this is called Cleft Palate. Cleft palate occurs in 1 out of every 700 live births.
Dr. Paul Tessier described fifteen lines of clefts in 1976. This condition can be successfully treated soon after birth with surgery. Cleft lip or cleft palate occurs in 1 out of every 600-800 births.
The gap in the roof of mouth connects the mouth to the nasal cavity. The direct connection between the oral cavity and nasal cavity results in leakage of air into the nasal cavity. This results in hypernasal voice resonance and nasal emissions. It also results in speech articulation errors like – substitutions, omissions or additions.
People with clefts feel little inferior among normal people. Their bonding with family and community is affected by their unusual appearance. They restrict themselves from interacting with others due to their unnatural speaking ability. Delay in speech is common in children with cleft lip or cleft palate. Pronouncing specific words becomes very difficult as they are unable to hit the palate with their tongue. They cannot avoid nasal effect during speaking as their nasal opening is connected. In cases where children build up extra pressure of air inside their mouth to speak properly, they hurt their vocal cords. They get stressed and tired after talking for a while.