Therapy Services

Regional Cleft Lip and Palate Service

This page gives you information about our Regional Cleft Lip and Palate Speech and Language Therapy Service.

The team assesses, diagnoses, treats and advises on speech, language and communication difficulties associated with cleft palate and velopharyngeal inadequacy (VPI) in babies, children and adults.

Expert team

We work across the whole of the North as part of a team of healthcare professionals. We work alongside:

  • a cleft surgeon
  • cleft nurse specialists
  • clinical psychologists
  • orthodontists
  • children’s dentist.

We also have close ties with the audiology and Ear, Nose and Throat departments across the region, and the Genetic Service.

We have five specialist Speech and Language Therapists based at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle. We also have two specialist Speech and Language Therapists working in Cumbria and Teesside.

Services we provide

Cleft Lip and Palate Service logoWe assess, diagnose, treat and advise patients, families and other health professionals on speech problems related to cleft palate and velopharyngeal inadequacy (VPI). This includes patients with specific syndromes such as 22q11.

We see patients of all ages who live in the North East and Cumbria. We are twinned with the service in Leeds. Together, we make up the Northern and Yorkshire Cleft Lip and Palate Service.

Working with younger children

If your baby has been diagnosed with a cleft palate and/or lip, our Speech and Language Therapists will see you and your baby in one of our clinics in Newcastle, Sunderland, Durham, Middlesbrough or Carlisle.

We will provide some early information and advice on how a cleft palate can affect speech and language development. We become more involved when your baby is 12 months old. We will regularly review their speech and language development between 0-3 years.

Accessing our services

We work with local community Speech and Language Therapy teams across the region.

Therapists can refer patients to us for therapy on delayed speech and language, or for ongoing therapy for speech articulation difficulties relating to cleft palate.

You or your child may also be referred to us by your therapist for a second opinion about disorders of resonance and airflow, and specific articulation problems, even if there is no overt cleft palate.

Seeing you close to home

For your initial appointment, we aim to see you as close to where you live as possible. We may ask you to come and meet other members of the cleft lip and palate team at one of our regional clinics.

We also see adults with disorders of resonance due to either having been born with a cleft palate, or through acquiring the condition following trauma to the palate.

Active in research

The Regional Cleft Lip and Palate Service is committed to high quality care, and we are also active in research and audit.  

More information

For more information about the Regional Cleft Lip and Palate Service, you can contact:

Treatment and medication information

We have a range of information leaflets covering subjects including:

  • Cleft lip and palate clinic
  • Encouraging Early Communication and Sound Development 
  • Helping your child- Info for parents or carers of children born with a cleft
  • Information about 2nd opinion specialist speech assessment 
  • MSIM Leaflet 
  • Speech and language development in your child's first year 
  • Speech surgery info for parents 

Useful websites

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