An investigation into what two hundred and nine members of the British Public Know about cleft lip and palate

Date

2021-10-05

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Peer reviewed

Abstract

Introduction Rationale This project was conducted as part of an undergraduate BSc (Hons) Speech and Language Therapy degree programme. The study was designed to explore what members of the British Public know about cleft lip and cleft palate. Within the current and limited evidence base, the lack of evidence about what cleft lip and palate are is a common theme (Alnujaim et al., 2017; Owotade et al., 2014; Sagwala, 2018). Only two of the studies exploring knowledge about cleft lip and palate specifically investigate what the public know about cleft lip and cleft palate (Middleton et al, 1986; Wallace and Arellano, 2018) but neither of these studies were conducted in Britain.

Aims of the Study This study was designed to find out what people in Britain know about cleft lip and palate and to consider the results of this present study with the investigations conducted in America (Middleton et al, 1986) and Australia (Wallace and Arellano, 2018) to see if there are key findings that might positively influence the lives of those living with cleft lip and palate.

Methods Used An online qualitative and quantitative questionnaire generated through google forms was circulated opportunistically through facebook and friendship groups. The 14 questions were based on questions used in previous studied and were designed to investigate what people know about cleft lip and cleft palate and how they acquired this knowledge.

Results The results of the study suggested that the 209 people who had responded to the invitation to take part in this study knew more about cleft lip than cleft palate. Respondents knew that people with cleft lip and palate may also have problems with speech, feeding, dentition, hearing, bullying and confidence and 74% of respondents could list more than one of these difficulties. Despite 168 people identifying speech as a difficulty associated with cleft lip and palate, only 82 survey responses identified that people with cleft lip and palate might benefit from Speech and Language Therapy intervention. The study found no link between more education and increased knowledge.

Conclusions and Contributions to new knowledge The results of this preliminary investigation suggest that cleft lip cleft palate is not very well understood within this very limited sample of the British public but it is higher than has been found in previous studies (Middleton et al, 1986; Wallace and Arellano, 2018). Greater awareness of what it means to have cleft lip and cleft palate may facilitate academic development, social integration and psychological wellbeing

Implications for practise

As Speech and Language Therapists, it would be beneficial to target raising awareness of cleft palate, within our sphere of influence. It may also be relevant to highlight and disseminate more widely the positive benefits of services that can support living successfully with cleft lip and palate such as Surgery, Feeding support, Speech and Language Therapy, Dentition and Orthodontic Services, and Audiology.

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Keywords

cleft lip and palate knowledge

Citation

De Boer, J. and Bixley, M. (2021) An investigation into what two hundred and nine members of the British Public Know about cleft lip and palate? [Poster presentation] Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists Conference 2021: Breaking Barriers and Building Better, Virtual, October 2021.

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Research Institute

Institute for Allied Health Sciences Research