Advocating for the Child: The Role of Pediatric Psychology for Children With Cleft Lip and/or Palate

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Abstract

Children with cleft lip and/or palate (CL ± P) undergo several surgical procedures from birth to adulthood to achieve functional, aesthetic, and psychosocial normalcy. Although children with CL ± P have normal physical development apart from their CL ± P, they face increased risk for emotional, social, behavioral, and academic concerns. In this article, we discuss how the psychology team helps support children with CL ± P and their families. We also explore how the child's overall functioning is evaluated through interview and assessment tools. Throughout, we validate the need for specialized considerations related to having a CL ± P such as increased risk for peer victimization as well as readiness for medical and surgical procedures. By examining the psychology team's role across a child's lifespan, we hope to show that our goal is to advocate for the child and to encompass the child's voice throughout the treatment process.

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