A comparative study of prespeech vocalizations in two groups of toddlers with cleft palate and a noncleft group

E Willadsen, H Enemark
Cleft Palate-craniofacial Journal 2000, 37 (2): 172-8

OBJECTIVE: This study examined the prelinguistic contoid (consonant-like) inventories of 14 children with unilateral cleft lip and palate (C-UCLP) at 13 months of age. The children had received primary veloplasty at 7 months of age and closure of the hard palate was performed at 3-5 years. The results of this investigation were compared to results previously reported for 19 children with cleft palate and 19 noncleft children at the age of 13 months. The children with clefts in that study received a two-stage palatal surgery. This surgical procedure was formerly used at our center and included closure of the lip and hard palate at 3 months of age and soft palate closure at 22 months of age.

DESIGN: Retrospective study.

SETTING: The participants were videorecorded in their homes during play with their mothers. The videotapes were transcribed independently by three trained speech pathologists.

PATIENTS: Fourteen consecutive patients born with C-UCLP and no known mental retardation or associated syndromes served as subjects.

RESULTS: The children who received delayed closure of the hard palate demonstrated a significantly richer variety of contoids in their prespeech vocalizations than the cleft children in the comparison group. Both groups of subjects with clefts had significantly fewer plosives in their contoid inventory than the noncleft group, and there was no difference regarding place of articulation between the group that received delayed closure of the hard palate and the noncleft group.

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