One size does not fit all: from a common approach towards performance-specific speech intervention and long-term learning in children with a cleft palate

01 October 2022 → 30 September 2026
Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Research disciplines
  • Medical and health sciences
    • Speech and language therapy
    • Speech, language and hearing sciences not elsewhere classified
Speech intervention Cleft palate Randomized Controlled Trial
Project description

Speech therapy in children with a palate deals with two scientific challenges that will be addressed in this project. The first challenge is selecting the best speech approach for a child with a specific cleft speech characteristic (CSC). Many speech therapists use a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to treat compensatory CSCs resulting in poor short- and long-term speech outcomes. To increase the effectiveness and quality of cleft speech care, it is necessary to find the best match between a specific therapy and a given type of CSC. Therefore, this proposal will compare the effect of 3 different speech approaches on the speech and quality of life in Dutch-speaking children with different types of CSCs. For an eventual global implementation of these approaches, it is important to investigate this best match in different linguistic contexts. Hence, a cross-linguistic comparison will be made between Dutch-speaking children and English-speaking children. The second challenge is selecting the best speech approach to enhance long-term learning and transfer of newly established speech skills to untrained consonants. To date, research mainly focused on immediate therapy effects. It is unknown if permanent speech changes occur. Hence, this project will also investigate the short-term and long-term learning effects (retention and transfer) of the different speech approaches from the first objective. This proposal will improve evidence-based and patient-tailored cleft speech therapy.