You'll find hundreds of files on cleft lip, cleft palate here on widesmiles.org.

This one is about: More Oral Exercises to Facilitate Speech

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Here are more concrete examples of things that you can do to help get our kids ready for speech (to help with producing different sounds). Some of the things listed would be for post palate repair.

Alex arrived in June, had the palate closed in October and the speech therapy started after that. The first session was with the therapist connected to the cleft palate unit, she got him to pick out objects from books. The second session was with another therapist closer to home - she listened to him talking and got him playing and relaxing.

She gave me an activity book to fill in with pictures and also some more pages with games/exercises mainly to do with blowing and sucking:

MMMMM - pictures of favourite foods - rub tummy and say mmmmm
Boo - peekaboo game saying Boo
Balloons - say P against a blown up balloon or against a piece of paper
Kissing - picture of people kissing - kiss the page
Car noises - cardboard box for toy car, pictures of vehicles which make a variety of noises. There was a color picture of a pea harvester in the paper last week so I stuck that in and told Alex it goes P-P-P
Animal noises - all the usual farm animals
Clocks - big clock goes loud, slow tick tock, small clock goes faster and softer tick tick
Be quiet - picture of sleeping child - shhh
Bye-bye - picture of somebody waving

Lip and tongue exercises - fish (round lips), puppy wagging tail (side to side), bunny in burrow (in and out), playtime (pretend apple), forklift (tongue to roof of mouth, down and out), wee mouth/smiley mouth/noisy kiss, lapping like a cat, tongue in cheek like a lolly, little mouth/wide open mouth, clean teeth with tongue, shake the mat - lift tongue up and down inside mouth.

Blowing and sucking - blow out candles, toy paper/plastic windmill, bugle or trumpet, carnival blower (the kind that rolls out), drink thru a straw - recommended for all cold fluids if the child has weak palate muscles, tin whistle etc, blow bubbles. Whistle! (try, even if the whistle won't whistle just yet). Use a straw to move small bits of paper from one place to another by sucking.

That was just before Christmas. We saw her a couple of weeks ago and she didn't check out Alex's ability for any of the above exercises but instead seemed to be testing his general intelligence giving him manual tasks to do. Some words he'd never met before, such as "doll" (he knows all the boy words, but my dolls are lost in a trunk somewhere) and "bark" - she asked him "which animal barks" and he had no idea but he'll woof if he sees a dog.


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