Thursday, June 30

What is a cleft?

Throughout the blog you may have heard me mention that I was the only of four children born with a cleft lip and palate. I was affected only on one side of the face, and I'm the only one in my family that I know with this defect. One of the reasons I blog, was to talk briefly about some of the frustrations that come psychologically and physically with being born with this particular defect. I think I mention this several times throughout my life.

Personally, I think I'm stronger because of my cleft. I think I'm a better person, more empathetic, simpler and nice. The torture, and the tears shed only made me want to be happier, and never a conformist. I participated in a play called "The Phoenix Cafe." This was a very emotional yet empowering experience for me. I want to tell you guys to check out the website of Foward Face, and support their cause. Forward Face’s mission is to help children with craniofacial conditions, and their families, find immediate support that helps empower them to successfully manage the craniofacial condition.

Cleft lip and cleft palate is a somewhat common birth defect found in one of every 700 newborns throughout the United States. A cleft lip happens when the lip during pregnancy fails to join completely. Sometimes it includes the bones of the upper jaw and/or upper gum. The same thing happens to the palate, where there might be an opening in the roof of the mouth. While the unborn baby was developing, these parts of the face may not correctly come together. It can occur at one side (unilateral) or both sides (bilateral). A person can be affected only on the lip, or on the palate. These can happen due to genetics and/or environmental factors. Many things can affect the occurrence of cleft lip and palate in a person. Someone affected by a cleft may need several different types of doctors, and services for surgery, orthodontic, speech, ear and nose, etc. It may last for number of years, depending on the severity of the case, and what is affected.

For other information visit, (Widesmiles) (Smiles) (International Institute For Birth Defects) (American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association (ACPA))

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