We’re currently attending the 12th International Congress on Cleft Lip/Palate and Related Craniofacial Anomalies  in Orlando, Florida. It’s a busy day here at Congress! 

Family Support in Ethiopia

Mengistu Hirut, Assistant Speech therapist at Yekatit 12 Hospital in Addis Ababa,  will be presenting during Session #19 – Show & Tell: The Family. Children with cleft lip and palate sometimes drop out of school or isolate themselves. Hirut’s study focused on the psychosocial impact of cleft lip & palate on children aged 6 to 15 who attended Yekatit 12 Hospital. 

Major Findings:

  • 80% of the cleft lip and palate clients were satisfied with their surgery
  • 56.3% of the cleft lip and palate clients do not question/worry about their facial appearance after surgery but 43.3%  do worry about how they look
  • 76.7% of the cleft lip and palate clients feel bad about their speech
  • 60% of patients feel bad about their teeth
  • 73.3% of the guardians claimed that their children face teasing when they tried to communicate with others
  • 83.3% of the guardians claimed that friends/students tease their child
  • 50% of the cleft lip and palate clients like playing with children in their age groups. The other 50% encounter problems playing with others their age freely
  • 36.7% dropped out of school
  • 35.7% cleft lip and palate clients were not understood by their teachers

Bullying sometimes manifests in isolation and dropping out of school. Some patients faced trouble communicating with others as a result of their cleft lip and palate. Attend Session #19 – Show & Tell: The Family to find out more about Hirut’s study!

Training Community Workers

During Session #29 – Standard of Care/Team Care, presenters will discuss the need for standards in cleft palate-craniofacial team and patient care.

Subramaniyan (Suraj) Balasubramanian works within the Department of Speech Language & Hearing Sciences at Sri Ramachandra University and directs the community based rehabilitation (CBR) project in a rural district of Southern India.

Training of community level workers is an essential step for the success of a community based rehabilitation model, but it is also important to assess the training process as well. His study assessed the efficacy of one such training module, which was intended to share information about cleft lip and palate, as well as provide skills to identify cleft errors of articulation.

Forty seven participants, most of whom were teacher trainees willing to serve as resource workers in the community, volunteered to participate in the training program. The training was delivered through lecture demonstrations followed by small hands-on sessions. A questionnaire was used to assess the change in knowledge and a listening task was administered pre and post training to assess the skill of identifying cleft type errors

His study found that while participants left more informed about cleft lip and palate, the duration and delivery of the listening training component needs to be modified. 

Mobile Monitoring in India

Suraj will also touch upon the use of mobile devices to monitor speech for children during Session #29 – Standard of Care/Team Care. Mobile connectivity has increased rapidly in rural India. In our community-based project, Community Based Workers (CBWs) provide information about cleft, identify individuals with cleft lip and palate, and serve as a link between the rural patients and hospital-based teams.

One component of the project has been the delivery of a speech correction program by CBWs under the supervision of the speech language pathologist (SLP) located at the hospital. Until recently, paper based documentation and periodic visits by the SLP were used to assess and monitor progress. But it was difficult to monitor patients regularly. Almost every beneficiary and CBW had a phone, so Mobile Monitoring, a low tech cost effective monitoring option, was initiated. As a result, pre and post correction comparison for each child showed a significant improvement in their speech.

Find out what else is happening today at the Congress or follow #Cleft2013 on Twitter!