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Linguistic and auditory processing skills in non-syndromic children with cleft palate: A scoping review

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Stephanie Van Eeden, Dr Helen StringerORCiD


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© 2020Background: Cleft lip and/or palate (CL/P) is the most common congenital craniofacial condition. Children born with CL/P are at increased risk of persistent speech difficulties related to velopharyngeal incompetence (VPI) and compensatory articulation problems. It has also been reported that they achieve poorer results academically than their peers. There is a further body of evidence to suggest delayed language skills. These potentially related outcomes are often reported separately. Aim: To review published and unpublished research into the nature of difficulties related to spoken and written language across all non-syndromic cleft diagnoses. To review any evidence of associations between comorbidities. Method: A scoping review was carried out in October 2016 and updated in June 2019 following published methodology (Arksey & O'Malley, 2005; Levac et al. 2010). Results: A search of the literature over the two time points found 38 papers in total. Three main themes were found: oral language skills, reading and auditory processing difficulties. Conclusions: There is evidence of early language delay in children born with CL/P. Evidence of persistent oral language problems is less conclusive. Many studies have reported scores within the average range for language, auditory processing and reading but poorer outcomes when compared to non-cleft control groups. However, studies have used a range of outcome measures, making comparisons difficult. Moreover there is no clear evidence how these difficulties might relate to speech outcomes or educational achievement and no comparison to other populations with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN).

Publication metadata

Author(s): van Eeden S, Stringer H

Publication type: Review

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Communication Disorders

Year: 2020

Volume: 87

Print publication date: 01/09/2020

Online publication date: 03/07/2020

Acceptance date: 30/05/2020

ISSN (print): 0021-9924

ISSN (electronic): 1873-7994

Publisher: Elsevier Inc.


DOI: 10.1016/j.jcomdis.2020.106029