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The Team Approach for Managing and Correcting Cleft Abnormalities
There may be many people involved in management of a cleft abnormality for your child, because the skills of many different areas are needed to help with the problems that can occur with cleft abnormalities. The following are some of the members of the team:
Plastic/craniofacial surgeon - a surgeon with specialized training in the diagnosis and treatment of skeletal abnormalities of the skull, facial bones, and soft tissue; will work closely with the orthodontists and other specialists to coordinate a surgical plan.
Pediatrician - a physician who will follow the child as he/she grows and help coordinate the multiple specialists involved.
Orthodontist - a dentist who evaluates the position and alignment of your child's teeth and coordinates a treatment plan with the surgeon and other specialists.
Pediatric dentist - a dentist who evaluates and cares for your child's teeth.
Speech and language specialist - a professional who will perform a comprehensive speech evaluation to assess communicative abilities and who will closely monitor your child throughout all developmental stages.
Otolaryngologist (ear-nose-throat specialist) - a physician who will assist in the evaluation and management of ear infections and hearing loss that may be side effects of your child's cleft abnormality.
Audiologist (hearing specialist) - a professional who will assist in the evaluation and management of hearing difficulties your child may have.
Genetic counselor - a professional who reviews the medical and family history, as well as examines your child to help in diagnosis. A genetic counselor also counsels your family regarding risk for recurrence in future pregnancies.
Nurse team coordinator - a registered nurse who combines experience in pediatric nursing with specialization in the care of your child and acts as liaison between your family and the cleft team.
Social worker - a professional who provides guidance and counseling for your child and your family in dealing with the social and emotional aspects of a cleft abnormality and assists your family with community resources and referrals (i.e., support groups).