Objective: To determine the age-specific communication functioning of children with cleft lip and palate (CLP) in the age groups of 1 to 11 months, 12 to 23 months, and 24 to 48 months. Design: A retrospective, descriptive, cross-sectional survey design was employed. Participants: Purposive sampling was implemented as a nonrandomized sampling method. The data sets of 227 participants, between the ages of 1 month and 48 months, and their families were investigated. Setting: The assessment data were extracted from an early communication intervention database at the Clinic for High Risk Babies at the University of Pretoria. Results: The findings revealed that expressive and receptive language and listening skills presented as the most vulnerable communication areas across all three age groups. The cumulative effect of the risk factors was the greatest in the 12- to 23-month age group, as this group presented with the highest frequency of delayed communication development. Relative strengths were found across all age groups in three areas: average cognitive skills, gross motor development, and displaying an appropriate variety of communication functions. Conclusions: The findings are confirmed by other studies and suggest that young children with CLP in the 12- to 23-month age group may be the most vulnerable for the emergence of communication delays. The vulnerable areas of communication development should be integrated as goals in a focused early communication intervention approach to the treatment of the young population with CLP.
- Delayed communication development
- Early communication intervention
- Expressive and receptive language
- Listening skills
- Young children