Conversational Skills of Preschool and School-Age Children with Cleft Lip and Palate
[Abstract] ((Kathy L. Chapman et al. Conversational Skills of Preschool and School-Age Children with Cleft Lip and Palate. The Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Journal: November 1998. 35(6): 503-516))
Objective: The purpose of this study was to examine the conversational skills of preschool and school-age children with cleft lip and palate.
Design: The children were audio- and videotaped during interactions with an unfamiliar adult. In addition, standardized measures of speech and language were administered, and ratings of resonance were obtained. Comparisons were made between the children with cleft lip and palate and their same-age peers on measures of conversational participation and a standardized test of pragmatic skills.
Participants: Participants were 20 children with unilateral cleft lip and palate (10 preschoolers and 10 school-age children) recruited from the Craniofacial Team at Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital, Cleveland (OH) and 20 non-cleft peers matched for gender, age, and socioeconomic status.
Main Outcome Measures: Separate comparisons were made for the preschool children with cleft lip and palate and their noncleft peers, and the school-age children with cleft lip and palate and their noncleft peers on eight measures of conversational assertiveness/responsiveness and the standardized tests of pragmatics. Next, each child with cleft lip and palate was classified for level of conversational participation.
Results: Paired tests revealed no significant differences between the preschool and school-age children with cleft lip and palate and their noncleft peers in level of conversational participation. However, individual child comparisons revealed less assertive profiles of conversational participation for 50% of the preschool and 20% of the school-age children with cleft lip and palate.
Conclusions: Children with cleft lip and palate may show a less assertive style of conversational participation, at least during the preschool years. Therefore, craniofacial team evaluations should include examination of conversational competency, particularly for children who are demonstrating difficulty with other aspects of speech, language, or social development.