Understanding Cleft Lip/Cleft Palate

Understanding Cleft Lip/Cleft Palate


Should you adopt a child with cleft lip or cleft palate? What is involved with this special need?


Intended Audience:

This course is designed for adoption professionals and pre/post-adoptive families.

1- Hour Online Audio Course (Certificate of completion will be immediately awarded upon successful completion of the course including passing a 10 question quiz with a grade of 80%)

Course Overview:

Should you adopt a child with cleft lip or cleft palate? What is involved with this special need? In this course, four medical specialists working with children with cleft lip/palate discuss adopting children with this common special need.  Our experts are: Dr. Andrea Smith, a dentist specializing in dental and facial prosthetics, clinical director at Lancaster Cleft Palate Clinic in Lancaster Pennsylvania; Dr. Thomas Samson, pediatric plastic surgeon at Penn State Hershey Medical Center, co-director of the Penn State Hershey Craniofacial Clinic and the Penn State Hershey Vascular Anomalies Clinic; Abbie Ellis, a feeding specialist at the Lancaster Cleft Palate Clinic; and Maureen Rostolsky, a speech therapist who specializes in working with children with cleft lip and palate at the Lancaster Cleft Palate Clinic.

This course includes:

  • What is cleft lip and cleft palate exactly?
  • What is the difference between cleft lip and cleft palate?
  • What causes this condition?
  • Is it usually a stand alone special need or condition or does it come in combination with other special needs or conditions?
  • How is it corrected?
  • How many surgeries are usually required?
  • Is it always fully correctable?
  • Does the ability to correct cleft lip or cleft palate depend upon the age of the child at adoption?
  • What are the dental implications of cleft lip/palate?
  • What age do orthodontics begin?
  • Is it possible for a child with cleft lip/cleft palate to breastfeed?
  • Would a supplemental nursing/feeding system help?
  • What are the speech implications for cleft lip/cleft palate?
  • How much of the treatment is covered by insurance?

Please contact the Education Director for technical assistance or disability accommodations.

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Image credit: Military Sealift Command

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