Social problems for kids with cleft palates

March 12, 2009

Children with cleft lip and palate (CLP) are six times more likely to have difficulties with social interaction, a new study shows.

Children with cleft lip and palate (CLP) are six times more likely to have difficulties with social interaction, a new study shows.

In the January Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Journal, lead researcher Serge Brand, PhD, and colleagues studies 36 children ages 6 through 16 with CLP, and 34 children without the congenital deformity.

Researchers were surprised to find a lack of reported impairment in dealing with family, friends, and peers. There was a lack of reported sleep problems associated with CLP, also surprising. But problems with social interaction, especially in the early adolescent years, was reported much higher than the control group.

Cleft lips and palates obviously disfigure the face, but they also have serious health implications. The opening between the mouth and nasal cavity can spread disease, and can cause serious speech and pronunciation problems. CLP issues respond very well to surgery, leaving little to no scar if performed early enough.