Cleft Lip and Palate: The SLP Role in Medical Multidisciplinary Care from Birth to Adolescence


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On average, one of out every 700 infants is born with a cleft lip and/or palate. Speech therapists are involved in a patient’s care from the beginning since babies with cleft lip and/or palate have feeding difficulties and often require the use of a specialized feeding system. During this intermediate course, we will review the role of the SLP within a multidisciplinary Cleft/Craniofacial team and how the role of the SLP changes throughout the child’s medical treatment. The course will address the management of feeding difficulties and appropriate selection of specialty feeding systems. We will review strategies for early intervention for speech/language development and characteristics of perceptual speech assessments in school-aged children with cleft lip and/or palate. There will also be a section specific to clinical decision making regarding velopharyngeal dysfunction and diagnostic speech imaging (videofluoroscopy and nasoendoscopy) procedures for resonance disorders. Video examples and case study presentations will be included.

Course Objectives

Upon successful completion of this course, participants will be able to:

Course Instructor(s)

Caitlin Lentz


Is a Speech Language Pathologist at Children’s Health in Dallas, Texas.She started working there after graduate school in summer 2016. Caitlin attended the University of Texas at Dallas for her Master’s degree and the University of Arizona for her Bachelor’s degree. She is currently an outpatient speech and feeding therapist and a speech therapist on the Cleft and Craniofacial Team. Her clinical focus is Cleft and Craniofacial feeding, Cleft and Craniofacial speech and resonance, instrumental assessment of swallow conducting videofluoroscopic swallow studies, and speech imaging for resonance conducting speech videofluoroscopy and nasoendoscopy studies. Caitlin has presented at various conferences including the Texas Speech-Language Hearing Association Annual Conference in 2018 and 2019 and the Children’s Feeding Symposium in 2019 and 2021. She is a contributing member to a research article titled, “Improving the Accuracy of Automated Cleft Speech Evaluation” by James Seaward in the Journal of Cranio-Maxillofacial Surgery, 2018.

Financial Disclosure: Caitlin receives honoraria from CIAO Seminars for the presentation of this course.
Non-Financial Disclosure: None

Course Agenda

Day 1

12:00 - 12:25
Cleft Diagnosis
12:25 - 12:40
Surgical Repairs and Timeline
12:40 - 01:25
Cleft Feeding and Specialty Feeding Systems
01:25 - 01:35
Multidisciplinary Team Care
01:35 - 01:50
01:50 - 02:15
Resonance Disorders and Velopharyngeal Dysfunction
02:15 - 02:40
Perceptual Speech Assessments for Articulation and Resonance
02:40 - 03:00
Speech Imaging (Nasoendoscopy and Videofluoroscopy)
03:00 - 03:15
Case Studies

Contact hours pre-approved for:

  • 3 Hours
  • CIAO is an ASHA Approved Provider (0.3 ASHA CEUs) bubble sheet submission required

Intermediate Level