Back to School

Children and teens are this week either starting school, heading back to school, or moving to a new school after the summer break. For some this can be a trying time, for others an exciting time, and that is just the parents we are talking about! But it can also be that way for the children, and a range of emotions can be experienced by one and all, not just the child born with a cleft. So what words of wisdom can we share with you as you send your child off to school for the new term, maybe even their first?

An excellent article appeared in the newsletter (Winter 2002 edition) of the AboutFace USA organisation and is reprinted here with the kind permission of both the author (Dr. Kathy Kapp-Simon) and the AboutFace USA organisation. This article has very useful advice for the school-going child born with a cleft.
Read the Article “Back to School” on our website.

Handout for Teachers
It can be useful to meet and enlighten your child’s teacher with regards to your child’s cleft. To that end we provide a handout specifically for teachers and carers that describes cleft lip and palate, the treatment that the child with a cleft receives, the issues of speech and language development, associated hearing problems, and psychological aspects. You can request a copy of this handout or print out the web version:

[download id=”15″]
[More about our Leaflet Series and how to order.]

Whats in a Stare?
[This article by Georgina Wade appeared in our Winter 2002 newsletter]

I recently attended the AGM of CLAPA UK. It was my first visit although CLAPAI are represented most years. There was a packed agenda that was full of interesting topics. Jane Frances from Changing Faces gave the first talk. I cannot give a report on all of Jane’s talk suffice to say it was most enlightening. The following are my own notes on the section of the talk that dealt with staring.

Sometimes a child will tell a parent that other children are ‘staring’ at them. We might be tempted to shrug it off or say that it’s only in the child’s imagination. The reality is that it is probably true. If we think about a stare as being an unasked question then maybe it will help us to cope better. If we  ccept that children born with cleft can look different then we will realise that children are bound to stare particularly at a first meeting. They are staring because they probably have not seen the condition before. How to cope?

Firstly, validate what your child says. Yes children do stare. Its because they have not seen anybody with your condition before. Next develop some coping mechanisms that your child can use. Having a standard response to the ready can make all the difference. Try in the standard response to answer the unasked question and then engage the person in conversation. Examples of some standard responses are below. The trick is to engage in conversation by asking a question, maybe changing the subject as you go.

  • It’s called a cleft lip, have you not seen it before?
  • Its called a cleft lip, I had an operation when I was young, have you ever had an operation?
  • My nose is weird, its cool to be weird, what’s your weird thing?
  • I had an operation when I was young but I still play football and everything else. Do you play football? [or ballet etc]

If you are an adult that notices one child staring at another – then don’t be afraid to answer the unasked question. [End]

Q & A
And from our Q & A Section, Are there implications for my child’s intellectual development and schooling?

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