Why Cleft Affected Teens may hate Cellphones & Social Media

Girl slouching, looking at cellphoneWhat if you were a teen and couldn’t use a cellphone or splash your picture around the internet?
Would you feel left out, a social outcast, and perhaps isolate yourself from your peers?

This happens with lipped and palated youths who avoid phones because they speak “differently” and avoid circulating photos because they’re ashamed of how they look.

Communicative disorders & the Cleft Affected Teen

Their speech difficulties may occur because surgeries and/or speech training haven’t solved the problem caused by their abnormal soft palate. The soft palate is the structure in the roof the mouth that seals off the nasal cavity from the speech-generating part of the mouth.

Surgeons try to correct palate anomalies, usually by extending the soft palate, but sometimes they fail. Also, appliances worn in the mouth or efforts by speech therapists–certified in Speech-Language Pathology (SLP)– fail.  There are times when youths perceive their speech comes across as hyper-nasal and unintelligible.

Facial deformities & the Cleft Affected Teen

Sometimes, too,  cleft affected youth think their faces scream “different,” “disfigured.” When this happens–again because of less-than optimum surgical outcomes–they avoid cameras or allow picture-taking only from their “good” side or when hair or a hat obscures some of their face. No selfies for them.

If these kids are still bullied–just as they often were in their younger years–they’re likely to withdraw socially and compound their problems. Once they begin to buy into their detractors label of “outcast,” their status as an outcast or outsider begins to solidify . Talk about a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Find out in  how one young man survived all this, using courage, humor and a gift for language that had been until speech therapy released it. Discover the life lessons he learned. These are lessons we can all benefit from, not just cleft affected youth on the verge of being isolated and marginalized.

 

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