Early consonant production in Swedish infants with and without unilateral cleft lip and palate and two-stage palatal repair.Cleft Palate Craniofac J. 2011 May; 48(3):271-85.CP
To investigate consonant production at 12 and 18 months of age following early soft palate repair in infants with unilateral cleft lip and palate (UCLP), and to compare it with typically developing children without clefts.
Randomized study with comparison group.
Twenty Swedish infants born with UCLP and 21 without clefts (COMP) were included in a randomized trial of palatal surgery (Scandcleft project). Soft palate closure was completed at age 5 months; hard palate closure was performed in 11 of the infants with UCLP at 1 year of age (HPC) and was left open in nine (HPO).
Audio recordings at 12 months (UCLP = 9, COMP = 21) and at 18 months (UCLP = 18, COMP = 21) were phonetically transcribed. Consonant inventory, frequency of manner and place of articulation, true canonical babbling (TCB), and impact of hearing status were analyzed.
At 12 months of age, all children had reached the stage of TCB. Mild hearing impairment was significantly correlated with fewer consonant types. A lower frequency of dentals and oral stops was found in the UCLP group than in the COMP group. However, the number of oral stops was high compared with what has been previously reported.
Early soft palate closure seems to give a relatively high number of oral stops even with the hard palate unrepaired, although with significantly fewer dentals/alveolars than are seen in peers without clefts. Differences in consonant inventory were correlated with hearing function.