Parents need encouragement when navigating challenges concerning their child’s facial difference. Children often receive questions about their scars from peers, while parents seek answers. ACPA Publications “Letter to the Parent of a Child with Cleft Palate” and “Help with Social Situations” offer tips from subject matter experts.
The letter to the parent reads comparable to a family story, as a mother shares her experience of raising two children with clefts. With decades of experience as the Nurse Coordinator for the University of Iowa Cleft and Craniofacial Team, Debbie provides support from both professional and family perspectives:
My amazing children are so much more than “just a cleft.” They have taught me so much and have given me such joy and love. I would never change the wonderful people that they have become. My hope is that you and your child realize that you are not alone, and that you are able to get the help and support you need for a bright future.
While the letter provides advice in many areas, “Help with Social Situations” examines issues such as CLP terminology and dealing with difficult questions:
The goal is to find words that tell the truth in a comfortable way. Families can develop a “script” for a child. The script might have three parts:
- Acknowledge the difference.
- Give a brief, simple explanation.
- Move on.
ACPA Family Services provides educational booklets and fact sheets written for individuals and families affected by cleft lip, palate, or other craniofacial conditions. These publications can be downloaded online or purchased in bulk. Families may also contact ACPA Family Services via email or phone (919-933-9044) to have a complimentary copy of booklets mailed to them.