Spelling Processes of Children With Nonsyndromic Cleft Lip and/or Palate: A Preliminary Study

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Objective:To compare the cognitive-linguistic processes underlying spelling performance of children with cleft lip and/or palate with those of typically developing children.Design:An assessment battery including tests of hearing, articulation, verbal short-term and working memory, and phonological awareness, as well as word and nonword spelling, was administered to both groups.Participants:A total of 15 children with nonsyndromic cleft lip and/or palate were casematched by age and sex to 15 typically developing children. The children were aged between 6 and 8 years and were bilingual, with English the dominant language.Results:Wilcoxon signed-rank tests revealed that the performance of children with cleft lip and/or palate was significantly poorer on phoneme deletion and nonword spelling (P< .05) compared with typically developing children. Spearman correlation analyses revealed different relationships between the cognitive-linguistic and spelling measures for the cleft lip and/or palate and typically developing groups.Conclusions:Children with cleft lip and/or palate underachieve in phonological awareness and spelling skills. To facilitate early intervention for literacy problems, speech-language pathologists should routinely assess the cognitive-linguistic processing of children with cleft lip and/or palate, especially phonological awareness, as part of their case management protocols.

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