Speech and language

Why are you collecting Speech and Language data?

Children who are born with cleft palate are more likely than other children to have problems with their speech. In fact about half of all children born with a cleft palate will need speech and language therapy intervention at some point. We already know about some factors that affect children’s ability to develop good speech but there is a lot we still don’t know. This study will give us the opportunity to learn more about what helps children who were born with a cleft palate to develop speech which is easy to understand and which sounds acceptable to them and their friends as they grow up.

What data are you collecting?

We are collecting data on children’s babbling when they are just over one year old. At the same time, we will also collect information about how the children interact with their parent. We will also collect data on the children’s speech and language development over time and will combine this with information collected from the cohort study on other aspects of development. A timeline (PDF, 61kB) which shows what data is being collected and when is available.

How and when are you collecting the data?

We will collect data on children’s babbling patterns and interaction patterns using a specially designed recording device which we will send out to parents. This device is easy to use and is placed in a top which the child wears over their ordinary clothes. It is switched on at the beginning of the day and left on all day until it switches itself off. Information on how to use the recording device (PDF, 322kB) is available. The recording device and top then need to be sent back to The Cleft Collective Speech and Language team at the University of Bristol. Parents who take part in this study will be given information on how to do this.

Parents will also be asked to complete a questionnaire on their child's early speech and language development at this time point. Some children may not be making any sounds or communicating very much at this stage. That is fine as the questionnaire is suitable to be used with parents from birth and includes questions about responses which are seen in very young babies as well as older children. Parents will be able to send the questionnaire back at the same time as the recording device.

Finally, parents will be given a hearing record which they will be asked to take with them to all hearing assessment appointments. This will enable us to have some reliable information about the child’s hearing over time. A copy of the Hearing record (PDF, 470kB) is available. Parents will be asked to take this hearing record to speech and language therapy appointments as the information on the record will help the speech and language therapist. Further data will be collected from speech and language therapists during routine speech and language therapy assessments at ages 24 months (where available) and 36 months. The hearing record will be collected by the speech and language therapist at this later appointment and sent to The Cleft Collective team at the University of Bristol.

What will happen to the data?

The data will be collected in a large database and analysed to find out what factors are important in the development of speech in children who are born with a cleft palate. This information will be discussed with parents and speech and language therapists and other professionals who work with children born with a cleft palate. It will be used to help children in the future, as we will have a better idea of how to help children’s speech development when a child has been born with a cleft palate.

How can I get involved?

You are eligible to take part in The Cleft Collective Speech and Language study if:

- You are a parent and you and your baby are participants in The Cleft Collective Birth Cohort Study AND
- Your baby was born with a cleft palate and is aged under 12 months

For more information about this study, please talk to your local cleft team or contact the lead researcher on this study, Dr Yvonne Wren: Yvonne.wren@speech-therapy.org.uk

If you are not eligible but would like to be kept informed about this study and hear about other opportunities, please visit our ‘How can I get involved?’ page.

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