Early intervention for speech impairment in children with cleft palate

Nancy J. Scherer, Linda L. D'Antonio, Holly McGahey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


Objective: This study explored the effectiveness of a parent-implemented, focused stimulation program on the speech characteristics of children younger than 3 years with cleft lip and palate. The research questions included the following: (1) Can parents be trained to deliver an early intervention (EI) program for children with cleft palate? (2) Does a parent-implemented EI program result in positive changes in speech characteristics? Participants: Ten mother-child pairs in which the child had cleft lip and palate (CLP) and 10 mother-child pairs in which the child did not have a cleft (NCLP). The children ranged in age from 14 to 36 months of age and were matched between the CLP and the NCLP groups for vocabulary size, age, and socioeconomic status. Main Outcome Measures: Group differences (CLP and the NCLP) for preintervention and postintervention language and speech measures were compared. Results: The results of this study showed that the mothers could be trained to deliver the intervention reliably. Furthermore, the results indicated that the intervention resulted in increased sound inventories, increased speech accuracy, and reduced use of glottal stops for the children with clefts. Conclusions: While the intervention resulted in speech gains for the children with clefts, speech measures did not exceed those made by the children without clefts. The results of the study have implications for service delivery models where the services of speech-language pathologists are limited.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)18-31
Number of pages14
JournalCleft Palate-Craniofacial Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Cleft palate
  • Early intervention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oral Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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