The state of the art: Speech and language issues in the cleft palate population

D. P. Kuehn, K. T. Moller

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Objective: State-of-the-art activity demands a look back, a look around, and, importantly, a look into the new millennium. The area of speech and language has been an integral part of cleft palate care from the very beginning. This article reviews the development and progression of our knowledge base over the last several decades in the areas of speech; language; anatomy and physiology of the velopharynx; assessment of velopharyngeal function; and treatment, both behavioral and physical, for velopharyngeal problems. Method: The clear focus is on the cleft palate condition. However, much of what is reviewed applies to persons with other craniofacial disorders and with other underlying causes of velopharyngeal impairment. A major challenge in the next several years is to sort through speech disorders that have a clear anatomic underpinning, and thus are more amenable to physical management, versus those that may be treated successfully using behavioral approaches. Speech professionals must do a better job of finding and applying ways of treating individuals with less severe velopharyngeal impairment, thus avoiding the need for physical management in these persons or ignoring the speech problem altogether. Conclusion: Early and aggressive management for speech and language disorders should be conducted. For most individuals born with cleft conditions, a realistic goal should be normal speech and language usage by the time the child reaches the school-age years.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)348
Number of pages1
JournalCleft Palate-Craniofacial Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2000


  • Cleft lip and palate
  • Language
  • Speech
  • Velopharyngeal impairment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oral Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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