Our son was born with a bilateral cleft lip and palate (BCLP) and has been in speech therapy since he
was 18 months of age. I value private speech therapy and we are faithful in keeping our weekly appointments, incorporating speech techniques at home to gain consistency and working on a great deal of repetition.
It’s just that at this point we have now added orthodontic appointments to our ‘have to’ weekly list and he has a palatal expander and permanent bar on the bottom. We’ve been told that his cleft will temporarily widen due to the palatal expander and that his speech intelligibility is going to degrade because of the widening cleft and cumbersome contraption in the roof of his mouth. All of which we are currently witnessing.
This kid has weekly speech and reading therapy already and now we have added orthodontic appointments! His therapist believes that there is value in continuing speech therapy and that other things can be worked on while suffering through the changes taking place due to Phase 1 of his orthodontic treatment.
My husband and I have been seriously discussing our options and are leaning towards giving speech therapy a break. His speech is not going to improve while undergoing orthodontic treatment in preparation for his bone graft surgery, so why not give him a break? It’s not forever and they are estimating that he is going to need the bone graft in 6-9 months. Speech therapy can resume after healing from the bone graft.
Has anyone else gone through this and found value in continuing speech therapy while undergoing orthodontic treatment? Did you take a break and regret it? Or was it a much needed break for your cleft kiddo that allowed them to just deal with the ortho stuff? We have a lot to consider and once we make a final decision I will post an update. Any input or feedback, even from a therapist’s point of view, is welcome!