Welcome to the Cleft Support blog. This blog was created as a resource and to provide support to parents with a child born with cleft lip and/or palate.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Cleft Clinic 2011

Today was Gavin's second annual visit to the Cleft Clinic. If you've never experienced a cleft clinic before, it's quite overwhelming. Not only does your child see many specialists in a short amount of time, but it's your job to navigate through all of the specialists to make sure that you visit with each one. Generally speaking, there is usually a speech therapist, an audiologist, an ENT (ear, nose, and throat doctor), a pediatrician, a psychologist, a social worker, a nutritionist, and a team of doctors that includes a dentist, an orthodontist, an orthopedic surgeon, and a plastic surgeon.

We were scheduled to arrive at 9:15 a.m. After checking in, we waited for almost a half an hour before we were allowed to begin making our way through all of these specialists. First, Gavin was weighed and his height was measured. Then, we met with the nurse who oversees all of the details and patients in the cleft clinic (she's also the nurse who works at our surgeon's office). The nurse asked general questions about Gavin's health and if there were any concerns we wanted addressed at the clinic. At this time, we're not really concerned with Gavin's development or progress. After meeting the nurse, we were off to the audiologist. Since Gavin just had a hearing test two days ago, we decided to skip doing another one. We briefly discussed what had occurred at our ENT's office on Monday, and then she sent us on our way.

Next we headed to the speech therapist. Gavin wasn't particularly cooperative, but she was able to listen to him say quite a few things. Gavin's speech, surprisingly, has never been delayed. In fact, our previous speech therapist (who had been visiting Gavin four times a year) actually discharged us because his speech was advanced. This speech therapist said that his speech sounded good - not too much air coming through when he speaks - and he was on-track for his age. Our only issue is that Gavin sometimes stutters, but when I explained the stuttering to her, she said it was probably just developmental and something he would outgrow. Following speech, we went to see the pediatrician. He basically just checked Gavin over, again reminded me that he would be taller than me by the time he was 13, and sent us on our way - no concerns here either. I decided that, since Gavin was just seen by an ENT on Monday, we would skip that specialist today.

We headed over to nutrition, where she also had nothing really to tell us. Gavin's a pretty good eater, he eats a variety of foods, and when he's hungry, he eats! We then moved on to see the psychologist and social worker who both agreed that Gavin was a happy, well-adjusted, normal three-year-old who didn't really feel like listening or following directions at that point in time. Somehow, he still earned a "prize" from them. Our final visit was with the team of doctors.

Our surgeon took a few pictures of Gavin, took a quick look in his mouth, and then invited every doctor in the room to take a peak at Gavin's mouth (poor Gavin was a little terrified but survived). The dentist wants us to get him started on fluoride tablets (we have well water) soon so that the adult teeth he does have will be nice and healthy. The surgeon told us that unless the speech therapist had any concerns with Gavin, we would see him back in a year.

Because Gavin is only 3, we're kind of in a holding pattern with surgeries. There is a lot of work left to be done regarding his upper gumline and teeth, but that work won't begin until he's a few years older and his adult teeth start coming in. So, it looks like we get at least another year-long break without having to worry about surgery!

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