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Talk about success: Boy born with cleft palate is now a chatterbox thanks to special therapyJune 12, 2014
A five-year-old boy who once struggled to speak after being born with a cleft palate is now happily chatting away with his family and friends.
Dylan Crothers could not pronounce consonants despite an operation to repair the hole in the roof of his mouth when he was a baby.
But now, after several years of speech therapy, he is finally able to communicate.
Mum Vicky Soothill, 26, of Park Street, Shaw, Oldham, said he had made amazing progress.
She said: “My main worry was always that Dylan would struggle with his speech, especially when he went to school.
“He used to use his own special language, which was mainly vowels, because he couldn’t make any hard sounds.”
Dylan started speech therapy sessions, run by Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust at Oldham Integrated Care, in 2010.
His therapist helped him learn to put his tongue, teeth and lips in the right place to form sounds by using games that rewarded him for pronouncing words well.
Vicky said: “He’s come on so much.
“Everything his therapist has done has helped him so much and he’s enjoyed it as well.
“I’m really proud of how well he’s done.
“He’s done lots of work at home as well and I’ve been a nightmare, prompting him constantly, but it’s been worth it.
“Everyone understands him and his speech is fantastic now.”
One in every 700 babies is born with a cleft palate or lip, which happens when parts of a baby’s face do not fuse together properly during pregnancy.
As well as speech problems, they can lead to feeding and hearing difficulties as well as dental and jaw development issues.
Dylan is now doing well after further surgery on his palate as a toddler and he has since been discharged from speech therapy.
He is now in the reception class at St James’s Primary School, where he is having no problems communicating with his new friends and teachers.
Speech therapist Kristy Hill said he had come on in leaps and bounds during their sessions.
She said: “Initially Dylan had difficulties making himself understood to other people, which was the main purpose for therapy.
“He’s done brilliantly and made amazing progress over such a short period of time”