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cleft lip/cleft palate program

specialty care for children with cleft lip/cleft palate 

At Dayton Children’s, our cleft lip/cleft palate team provides comprehensive, multidisciplinary care for children with cleft lip and/or cleft palate. These children have complex medical needs that affect many aspects of life, from eating to hearing to speech. Close follow up and care coordination are essential! Our care coordinator, Melissa Hines, is available by phone to answer your questions and provide you with the support you need.

Many of our families receive benefits from the State of Ohio’s Children with Medical Handicaps Program (BCMH). We follow BCMH care guidelines, which means children receive consistent, well-coordinated therapy that is covered by their BCMH insurance. When patients turn 21, we help them transition to an adult care provider.

Primary care physicians are an important part of the team, and we keep in close contact with them, especially during a child’s first months of life. The primary care physician keeps us informed about concerns such as weight gain and feeding issues, and we provide treatment plan updates as well.

before and after gallery

View a few of the before and after procedure photo results in our patient gallery.

your child's first appointment

Your child’s first visit to the cleft lip/cleft palate clinic will last from two to three hours. Please be sure to bring diapers, formula, snacks and a favorite toy or other familiar items from home. Also, bring along a list of questions you would like to ask our team.

During this appointment, you and your child will remain in one of our exam rooms, and our specialists will come in to perform thorough evaluations. If your child has difficulty feeding, please let a team member know when you are planning to feed your child during your visit. We will ask our feeding specialist to come observe, which will help us identify what the problem is and how we can help.

At the end of this appointment, you will receive written notes about your visit and our initial recommendations. Later, after our team has an opportunity to talk more about your child’s needs, you will receive a comprehensive written treatment plan. 

We will also talk with you about applying for coverage through the State of Ohio’s Children with Medical Handicaps Program (BCMH). This program serves children with special health care needs by providing care coordination and supplementary insurance coverage.

We will schedule your child’s next appointment at the end of this initial evaluation. Our team will coordinate your child’s care and make adjustments to the treatment plan as needed.

personalized treatment plan

Some children with cleft lip/palate or other craniofacial conditions have complex medical needs, while others do not. Our team will establish a personalized treatment plan for your child. Our clinic coordinator will make sure your child receives the services he or she needs in a well-coordinated way.

Our services include:

  • Speech and feeding evaluation/therapy
  • Nutrition evaluation
  • Hearing evaluations
    • Using assistive devices, such as a medical stroller or braces
  • Plan for surgical care
  • Plan for orthodontic and oral surgery care
  • Referrals to specialists at Dayton Children’s and other providers
  • Prenatal consultations for families who are expecting a baby who has a cleft lip/palate or other craniofacial condition
  • Genetic counseling
  • Social work services, to help families access community resources
  • Documentation and support to ensure children receive the services they need at school
  • Assistance with transitioning to adult care providers

follow up care

We will want to see your child regularly to see how he or she is responding to the treatment plan and recommend additional therapy or testing if needed. We will schedule follow-up appointments at the end of each visit. These appointments usually take between one and two hours.

additional resources

The Cleft Palate Foundation offers information and support for families. Learn more here. Dayton Children's also offers support groups online. To learn more contact our care coordinator at 937-641-4513.