Learning to speak and speak well can be a lifelong process, with much of the speech development occurring in the preschool and early school-age years.
For some children, the development of this critical skill may be complicated by the presence of a birth defect.
Some speech problems in children occur because the palate, otherwise known as the “roof of the mouth,” doesn’t connect properly with the pharynx, or the “back of the mouth.” These children usually have a stuffy sound to their voice and may have trouble with consonant sounds.
“When you have a gap there, an incomplete closure, that allows for the air to go through the mouth into the nasal airspace, that kind of creates that nasal quality to the voice,” said Ananth Murthy, MD, director of the Pediatric Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Center at Akron Children’s.
While not a cure, surgery can help, especially for children with cleft lip or palate. However, after children undergo this procedure, they need a lot of speech therapy to help correct bad habits.
Watch the video below to learn more about speech surgery and Akron Children’s program.