January 27, 2011

Participants Sought for Study Treating Speech Disorders in Young Children With Cleft Palate

Young children born with cleft lip or palate are sought to participate in a groundbreaking intervention study to help improve their language and speech.

The study, launched by Vanderbilt University and East Tennessee State University in January 2010, has already been found to have a positive impact on addressing speech disorders in these children.

The Vanderbilt study site is accepting children, ages 1-3 years, who have had cleft lip or palate correction. Parents who are interested in enrolling their child should call Kristin Mullins at 322-8160.

The currently accepted treatment therapies for children with cleft lip and cleft palate do not address both language and speech at the same time. This study addresses both.

Two children have completed the six-month intervention at Vanderbilt. Both made notable improvements in their language skills, as assessed by the Preschool Language Scales, and their average sentence length increased. Their ability to correctly pronounce consonants also improved.

Parents, too, have observed improvements, commenting on their children talking more often and more clearly, as well as having the confidence to talk with and be understood by others not already familiar with their manner of speaking. They also reported that their children looked forward to the therapy sessions.

The intervention research, which is funded by a $400,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health, is led by Nancy Scherer, dean of East Tennessee State University’s College of Clinical and Rehabilitative Health Sciences, and Ann Kaiser, professor of Special Education and Susan Gray Chair in Education and Human Development at Vanderbilt’s Peabody College.

Contact: Jan Rosemergy, 322-8238 or jan.rosemergy@vanderbilt.edu .