Speech Therapy Research Appeal

We are appealing to families to raise or donate €100 to the Cleft Lip & Palate Association of Ireland (CLAPAI)  so that together in 2015 we can fund the next phase of important Speech Therapy Research.

Why Speech Therapy? On average, treat 140 babies per year are born in Ireland with a cleft. Over half will have speech problems because they are unable to make sounds in the normal way. Speech therapy is a proven method of enabling children to make the sounds they find difficult.

What is the problem? Currently children with cleft are assessed at their Cleft Centre, but Speech Therapy is delivered locally. Speech therapy services for everybody is in crisis and has been for over a decade. Children are not getting access as early as their parents would like. When they do get access they must follow a standard system of 6 – 12 sessions per annum. If a child gets a cold a session can be lost. It is very frustrating for families when the sessions stop until the next year. The therapy works but it is a long drawn out process.

What is the research? This research is called Parent Lead Articulation Therapy, or PLAT for short. It aims to change the way therapy is delivered. A new programme has been developed that allows therapists to train parents in small groups. The parents learn how to be the frontline therapists for their own child. Once initial training has been given and the child has been set their own programme the parents work at home, in the car or wherever their child is comfortable with the therapy. The family connect remotely at regular intervals with their therapist via computer and broadband. The parent and child set the pace. There are no interruptions. No travelling to clinics.

Who is doing the research? Dr. Triona Sweeney, Adjunct Professor and Cleft Research Speech and Language Therapist.

Why fund the research? It is not good enough to just have a good idea. The idea must be proven. The programme must be developed. Key people trained. CLAPAI has a target of €40,000 to raise by the end of 2015.

Donations accepted by credit card via or site  or by cheque to the Cleft Lip & Palate Association of Ireland, c/o 36 Woodlands Ave, Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin, or by bank transfer to Bank of Ireland, Sort Code: 90-00-84 Account Number: 56191109.

For more information, contact info@cleft.ie or mobile 087 1319803.

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