One of the things I love about Mekong Hope Surgical Fund is its holistic care of patients and their families. It really goes way beyond a safe, quality surgical procedure.
I’m passionate about speech therapy. When a person has a cleft palate, it significantly decreases their ability to speak and communicate clearly. It is so important to me that people don’t just get great new smiles, but that they can be heard and understood.
Six weeks after cleft palate surgery we start speech therapy. We start by forming individual sounds and helping the air come through the lips and not escape through the nose or remain as a ‘guttural’ sound in their throats. I model how to do speech therapy with the parents watching on, often using cheap, locally available materials to help strengthen muscles and keep it fun! Dish soap bubbles and balloons work well for this!
We’ve also done some ‘remote’ speech therapy using video chats!