The Cleft Care UK study. Part 4: perceptual speech outcomes

D. Sell, S. Mildinhall, L. Albery, A. K. Wills, J. R. Sandy*, A. R. Ness

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

59 Citations (Scopus)
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Objectives: To describe the perceptual speech outcomes from the Cleft Care UK (CCUK) study and compare them to the 1998 Clinical Standards Advisory Group (CSAG) audit.

Setting and sample population: A cross-sectional study of 248 children born with complete unilateral cleft lip and palate, between 1 April 2005 and 31 March 2007 who underwent speech assessment.

Materials and methods: Centre-based specialist speech and language therapists (SLT) took speech audio-video recordings according to nationally agreed guidelines. Two independent listeners undertook the perceptual analysis using the CAPS-A Audit tool. Intra- and inter-rater reliability were tested.

Results: For each speech parameter of intelligibility/distinctiveness, hypernasality, palatal/palatalization, backed to velar/uvular, glottal, weak and nasalized consonants, and nasal realizations, there was strong evidence that speech outcomes were better in the CCUK children compared to CSAG children. The parameters which did not show improvement were nasal emission, nasal turbulence, hyponasality and lateral/lateralization.

Conclusion: These results suggest that centralization of cleft care into high volume centres has resulted in improvements in UK speech outcomes in five-year-olds with unilateral cleft lip and palate. This may be associated with the development of a specialized workforce. Nevertheless, there still remains a group of children with significant difficulties at school entry.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)36-46
Number of pages11
JournalOrthodontics and Craniofacial Research
Issue numberS2
Early online date16 Nov 2015
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2015

Bibliographical note

Accepted: 5 SEP 2015


  • Cleft lip
  • Cleft palate
  • Speech
  • Treatment outcome


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