Cleft lip and palate affects one in every 650 children. In the school years affected children are at raised risk for both socio-emotional and cognitive difficulties. An important question is the extent to which the problems of children with clefts may be explained by difficulties in parent-child interactions since these often predict poor child functioning. Giving birth to an infant with a cleft is often followed by shock and distress and this may affect parent-child interactions. A U.K. study of 190 very young children looked at the child's relationship with their mothers at two, six, twelve and eighteen months and measured their behaviour problems and mental development at eighteen months. Some of the children had clefts which were repaired early (before 3-4 months), others had clefts which were repaired later and others were unaffected by the condition. The study found that early interaction difficulties between mothers and the children who had 'late' repair for their cleft lips and palates were associated with poor cognitive functioning at 18 months.
Murray, Lynne ... [et al] - The effect of cleft lip and palate, and the timing of lip repair on mother-infant interactions and infant development Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry February 2008, 49(2), 115-123