Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery News
Speech Working Group Focuses on Developing Countries
Spring 2002, Volume 28, Number 2
from the American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association Newsletter
by David P. Kuehn, PhD
A group of experts in the area of speech and language treatment met at St. Louis Children's Hospital, January 18-20, 2002. The meeting was funded by a grant from The Smile Train and was co-chaired by David P. Kuehn, PhD and Linda L. D'Antonio, PhD. Local arrangements in St. Louis were provided by Jeffrey L. Marsh, MD and Lynn Marty Grames, MA. Ms. Grames was also a participant at the meeting and served as the recorder. Several countries in addition to the US were represented as indicated in the group picture.
The purpose of the meeting was twofold: 1) to identify and prioritize needs for treating speech and language disorders in individuals born with cleft palate in the developing world and 2) to formulate a plan for developing information on treatment of these disorders for care givers. Although the focus was on treatment in developing countries, much of the information addressed is applicable to developed countries as well.
Three categories of treatment providers were first Identified as potential recipients of training materials: a) speech-language pathologists who are generally knowledgeable about speech and language treatment but who have little training in working specifically with the cleft palate population, b) allied professionals, such as surgeons, who are experienced in treating individuals with cleft palate but who have little training in dealing with speech and language disorders, and c) community based Individuals, such as parents and teachers, who have little training in either speech/language disorders or working with individuals born with cleft palate. A "Needs Grid" was developed in conjunction with the meeting that portrays materials that are currently available or not available in relation to ten aspects of speech/language care such as Prevention of Compensatory Articulation in Infants and Toddlers, Velopharyngeal Diagnosis in Older Children, etc., for the three categories of treatment providers. This completed grid, including source material citations, will be placed on The Smile Train website with a link from the ACPA Research Education Committee website.
A second product of the meeting, in addition to the Needs Grid, included abstracts for four training modules. The training modules deal with topics that were identified by the attendees as being in the most critical need of immediate attention. The titles of these modules are as follows:
Committees were formed among the attendees to further develop each of these modules. Additional funding is being sought to implement the preparation and dissemination of the modules. Initially, textual content will be prepared and later, graphic illustrations and video demonstrations will be prepared to accompany the text material.