Babies born with a cleft palate, with or without a cleft lip, may have speech problems. A cleft palate can make speech sound nasal or make certain sounds unclear. There is difficulty in making the proper sound of the consonants (such as ‘p’,’b’,’t’,’d’,’s’,’ch’), and/or a nasal sound to the voice due to air escaping down the nose. Around half of children with a cleft palate will need some form of Speech and Language Therapy to help them speak clearly. This can be also available to adults with speech issues.
The goal is for children to have clear, intelligible (understandable) speech by the age of 5 so they can start school with confidence. The therapist designs a special program of activities appropriate to the age and development of each child.