For parents, facing the task of finding successful and affordable treatment for their child’s cleft lip or cleft palate can seem daunting. How can you wade through the massive amount of information there is on the subject, make the correct decisions regarding your child’s particular case, and form a plan of action? Most parents are simply not prepared to deal with such challenges, but the first steps should always be educating yourself and finding the right resources to help you and your loved one through the process.
Cleft Lip / Palate Facts
In the United States alone, an estimated 4,437 children are born every year with a cleft condition. Cleft lip and cleft palate is one of the most common birth defects in the country, and there are a variety of treatments depending on individual circumstances. While researchers do not conclusively understand the causes of these defects, many seem to be caused by changes in genes. In addition, there are several risk factors associated with cleft. Because clefts form during pregnancy, the health and habits of the mother appear to have an effect on the likelihood of a baby being born with the defect. Pregnant women who smoke or who have diabetes, for instance, seem to have a higher chance of having a baby born with a cleft lip or palate. Researchers, however, have yet to understand why, if at all, such factors affect the development of the lip and palate.
Where To Turn
Because so many have been born with a cleft, there is a huge amount of information available to look towards for information and support. Information such as this can be found at www.worldcf.org. This website gives invaluable information, such as conditions, treatments, research and more. Another relative website is www.craniofacial.net, which features similar information, as well as details on the team that helped Mia undergo surgery for her cleft lip in early 2014.
The website www.worldcf.org belongs to the World Craniofacial Foundation. This foundation provides access to surgical care for children, as well as adults, with abnormalities of the face or head, as well as emotional support. Additionally, they provide funding for everything from the traveling and lodging expenses for people as they seek treatment, to fellowships for doctors as they pursue advanced training. The World Craniofacial Foundation is also a great resource to use to get educated about craniofacial issues and treatments.
The International Craniofacial Institute is another great resource. Founded in 1971, the institute claims to have treated over 17,000 patients. Its website offers a wide selection of physicians specializing in craniofacial surgery, as well as speech pathologists and others whose expertise centers around the head and face. The site also has a lot of information about various craniofacial conditions and treatments, and provides a patient resources section, complete with instructions for new patients, pre and post surgery guidelines, and an index of helpful links to other resources.
How You Can Make a Change
Dealing with cleft lip and palate can seem daunting, even frightening, at first, but the more steps you take to educate yourself and look for solutions, the more empowered you will become. Here at the Mia Moo Fund, we’re happy and proud to raise funds to help each child smile brightly throughout his or her life. Donate today and help by spreading the word.