Early speech and language development in children with nonsyndromic cleft lip and/or palate: A meta-analysis

Hope Sparks Lancaster, Kari M. Lien, Jason C. Chow, Jennifer R. Frey, Nancy J. Scherer, Ann P. Kaiser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Objective: The aim of the study was to conduct a meta-analysis of research examining the early speech and language functioning of young children, birth to age 8;11 (years; months), with nonsyndromic cleft lip and/or palate (NSCL/P) compared to their peers without NSCL/P. Method: We conducted a random-effects metaregression using 241 effect sizes from 31 studies comparing 955 young children with NSCL/P to 938 typically developing peers on measures of speech and language functioning. Moderators were sample characteristics (i.e., age, cleft type, publication year, and study location) and measurement characteristics (i.e., speech sample material, language modality and domain, and assessment type). Results: Young children with NSCL/P scored significantly lower on measures of speech and language compared to children without NSCL/P. Children with NSCL/P had smaller consonant inventories (standardized mean difference effect size [ESg]=−1.24), less accurate articulation (ESg = −1.13), and more speech errors (ESg = 0.93) than their peers. Additionally, children with NSCL/P had poorer expressive (ESg = −0.57) and receptive (ESg = −0.59) language skills than their peers. Age and assessment type moderated effect sizes for expressive language. As children with NSCL/P aged, their expressive language performance became more similar to their peers. Expressive language effect sizes from parent reports and observational language measures (estimated effect size = −0.74) were significantly lower than those from standardized norm-referenced tests (estimated effect size = −0.45). Conclusions: These findings suggest that young children with NSCL/P experience delays relative to their peers across multiple speech and language constructs. Differences between children with NSCL/P and their typically developing peers appear to decrease with age.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)14-31
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing


Dive into the research topics of 'Early speech and language development in children with nonsyndromic cleft lip and/or palate: A meta-analysis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this