The Specialist Speech and Language Therapists (SLTs) in the cleft service specifically work with children and adults born with a cleft palate (with or without a cleft lip). We provide information and advice to families about speech and language development and how the palate works for speech starting when children are a few months old.
The SLT team monitor progress throughout speech development and growth via sessions at defined intervals. However, if parents or patients are concerned they can contact us at any time to arrange an appointment.
Reviews at regular intervals enables the team to identify children who need to be seen more frequently or who need additional help for their speech. Sometimes this additional help might involve speech and language therapy intervention for speech sounds and being able to be understood. Sometimes this can also involve further investigations if additional surgery might be needed to help with velopharyngeal function (the ability of the palate to close against the back wall of the throat during speech).
We liaise closely with community NHS SLT services and any other SLT providers who are working with children or adults known to our service across the region. This includes local specialist SLTs working in community children’s speech and language therapy services. Our aim is to help children to become confident speakers by the time they start school, however we also see older children and adults who were born with a cleft and who would still like help with their speech.
As well as people who were born with a cleft, we also see children and adults who weren’t born with a cleft but who have concerns about speech that sounds like the soft palate may not be closing tightly against the back walls of the throat. When this happens, this is called non-cleft velopharyngeal dysfunction.
Please see our patient information leaflets here.
Caroline Hattee - Lead advanced specialist speech and language therapist
Lucy Southby - Lead advanced specialist speech and language therapist
Alison Birch - Deputy Lead Specialist Speech and Language therapist
Georgie Linford - Advanced specialist speech and language therapist
Leah Moors - Advanced specialist speech and language therapist
Hannah Chandler - Specialist speech and language therapist
Lydia Doherty - Specialist Speech and Language therapist (On maternity leave)
Alice Wynn - Specialist Speech and Language Therapist (cover for Lydia Doherty)
Catriona Larham - Specialist Speech and Language therapist