Support and Therapy Services
The care of young patients with craniofacial syndromes at NewYork-Presbyterian is provided in a family-centered environment by dedicated interdisciplinary teams of surgeons, pediatricians, dentists and other oral care specialists, nurses, audiologists, speech and language therapists, feeding therapists, occupational therapists, geneticists, social workers, and child life specialists. In addition to craniofacial surgery, we provide the following services as needed as part of your child's care plan:
Speech and Language Therapy
- Our speech and language pathologists assess and treat children with speech, voice, and swallowing issues related to craniofacial or oral cavity disorders.
- They participate in the decision-making process for the scheduling of surgeries and provide guidance regarding speech services that your child may need at home or at school.
- Our speech pathologists assess your child's speech skills and the pronunciation of certain consonants and vowels. They collaborate with otolaryngologists (ear/nose/throat doctors) and reconstructive surgeons to identify ways to improve your child's speech.
Hearing Care (Audiology)
- Hearing difficulties and middle ear dysfunction often occur in infants and children with craniofacial abnormalities. We can assess your child's auditory system and pathways at any age.
- Our specially trained audiologists perform tests such as otoacoustic emissions; auditory brainstem response testing; behavioral audiologic evaluations, including visual reinforcement audiometry; and hearing aid evaluations and fittings.
- Our feeding therapists are available to ensure that your child is able to take in adequate nutrition and swallow food or liquid safely, without complications such as pneumonia or other medical issues.
- Our therapists work closely with you to identify the best way to feed your child, teaching you feeding techniques and advising you how to select a bottle so your infant can take in enough nutrition and drink without discomfort.
- They also provide treatment if your child has muscle weakness or an aversion to certain types of food because of an early-life experience.
Dentistry and Oral Care
The treatment of children with craniofacial deformities requires specialists in pediatric dentistry, orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics, and maxillofacial prosthodontics.
- Dental Care: Our pediatric dentists are available to closely follow children with clefts and craniofacial conditions. Comprehensive dental care is an integrated part of your child's overall rehabilitation. Our pediatric dentists also make custom devices to enhance closure of the gap in the gums and lips before surgery in babies with facial clefts.
- Orthodontic Care: Orthodontists may be involved in the care of your child from several years of age until age 18 or 19, or until all surgeries are complete to monitor craniofacial growth and development; to perform presurgical procedures such as nasoalveolar molding (NAM), expanding the palate and preparing your child's bite to ensure stability after surgery and correcting jaw discrepancies and dental arches before cleft lip and palate surgery; and to monitor the success of a bone graft or other procedures.
- Prosthodontic Care: We also provide prosthetic appliances to support feeding or speech if your child has cleft palate, and to replace or restore oral and facial structures.
Genetic Counseling and Testing
- We provide prenatal, pediatric, and adult diagnostic testing for birth defects and/or genetic conditions. Genetic counseling is an integral component of the program, including discussion of genetic risks for future children. Our team includes clinical geneticists, genetic counselors, and supporting staff.
- Our geneticists also provide reproductive counseling for parents of affected children and for adolescents with clefts and congenital conditions who are reaching the age of reproductive awareness.
Social Work Support
- We can connect you with resources and services and facilitate medical, dental, and surgical care for your child. We can also help you adjust to the birth of a child with a facial deformity or a change in your child's appearance due to trauma or disease.