Cleft Lip and Palate (CLP)

The Cleft Lip and Palate /Craniofacial Program is a team of professionals that assess and treat children and youth in Southwestern Ontario who have conditions affecting their teeth and facial structure.  This includes such differences as cleft lip, cleft palate, cleft lip and palate and a range of other conditions affecting the face. Services are provided by a speech-language pathologist, a social worker, Paediatric Dentist, Orthodontist, Plastic Surgeon and an Ear/Nose and Throat specialist. 

Access to Services

Newborn Babies and Prenatal Consultations
Telephone contact with Anne Dworschak-Stokan, Speech-Language Pathologist, at 519-685-8700 ext 53436 within the first 48 hours of birth.  This is followed by a written referral from a physician faxed to 519-685-8707.

Other Referrals
For other referrals, please refer to our intake / referral process.

What to Expect

Assessment Process
Once a referral is received, parents are offered an appointment to speak with the social worker and the speech-language pathologist on the team. The appointment is an opportunity to discuss general information about treatment of cleft lip and palate.

All newborns with cleft lip and palate should be referred to our clinic as soon as possible following birth. The doctor should contact Anne Dworschak-Stokan, Speech-Language Pathologist, 519.685.8700 ext 53436. We will make every reasonable attempt to visit the newborn at the referring hospital. If this is not possible, telephone contact will be made with the referring health professionals. 

The speech-language pathologist and social worker maintain contact with the parents after the baby’s birth. The speech-language pathologist provides assessment and management of feeding. Referral to community professionals in the child’s home area will be made as required. The social worker provides assistance with coordination of services, information about hospitalizations and parent-to-parent support.

Arrangements will be made on an outpatient basis for further consultation with our plastic surgeon and if required, our clinic orthodontist for any pre-surgical management.  This appointment may be 2-8 weeks following birth depending upon the nature of the cleft.

CLP Clinics
Multidisciplinary clinics are held 14 times a year.  The team maintains communication with community providers through telephone contact and the distribution of a comprehensive clinic report. A clinic feedback form is also available for community practitioners to submit their clinical information about the client or bring forward concerns for the clinic team to address.

Please be advised - Educational opportunities are provided for students from Western University in the Faculties of Medicine/Dentistry and Applied Health Sciences.  Students observe consultations at clinics and participate in research projects.  

For More Information

Contact Anne Dworschak-Stokan, Speech-Language Pathologist, at 519.685.8700 ext 53436

Ontario Cleft Lip and Palate/Craniofacial Dental Program

One in every 700 infants in Ontario is born with a cleft of the lip and/or palate or other craniofacial difference. These conditions can be corrected through surgery, specialized dental treatment and speech therapy.

To assist families of children and young adults who must cope with the expense of specialized dental treatment, the Ministry of Health provides funding for the Ontario Cleft Lip and Palate/Craniofacial Dental Program, managed by the Provincial Council for Maternal and Child Health. This program provides financial assistance for the specialized dental needs of affected individuals.

Learn more about the Ontario Cleft Lip and Palate/Craniofacial Dental Program.