Cleft Palate

A cleft palate is a birth defect in which the palate (roof of the mouth) does not completely form leaving an opening in the middle of the palate.

Cleft lip

A cleft lip is a birth defect in which the lip does not completely form leaving a split in the upper lip on one or both sides of the center.

The child will most often need surgery and will be seen by a team of specialists. The Speech Language Pathologist is an important member of the team and will treat symptoms associated with speech and feeding.

Symptoms associated with the condition:

  • Speech disorders
  • Eating difficulties
  • Changes in facial growth
  • Changes in dental development

Children are at risk for;

  • Scarring
  • Fistula
  • Dental malocclusion

A child with a Cleft Lip and/or Palate may have eating, speech, hypernasality, receptive language, and/or expressive language concerns.

Common rehab treatment interventions:

Therapy for children with speech disorders will include play based activities, demonstration of appropriate tongue and lip placement for speech sounds, oral awareness activities, activities to increase oral/nasal sound and structured speech sound practice

Therapy for children with feeding disorders will include learning skills to help your child based on age, type of cleft and feeding preferences. Parents are often taught to use bottle nipples specific to children with Cleft Palate. We most frequently use the Pigeon nipple and the Haberman Feeder.

Parents are involved in all treatment activities.

Definitive Diagnosis Resources:

The specialty providers on our Team include:

  • Speech-Language Pathology
  • Audiology
  • Social Work
  • Psychology
  • Nursing
  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Plastic Surgery
  • Orthodontics
  • Genetics
  • Dieticians

For additional information regarding the medical management of children with Cleft Lip Palate/Craniofacial Disorders and for information on making appointments with the Primary Children’s Cleft Palate/Craniofacial Clinic Team, please contact Natalee Lyon, R.N. PCMC Cleft Palate Craniofacial Team Nurse Coordinator at 801-662-1631.

Local Support Group

Local support group for parents of children with DiGeorge Syndrome and children with 22Q11 Deletion Syndrome/Velocardiofacial Syndrome.
801-913-1043 (Cassaundra Gertsch).


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