What Causes VPD?
For VPD patients, their palate – or the roof of their mouth – is short and may not move correctly. This causes too much air to go through the nose when speaking, so that many sounds of consonants (non-vowel letters) may be difficult to understand. To correctly diagnose and treat the condition, patients will undergo an evaluation of their speech by a multidisciplinary team including a trained Lurie Children’s speech language pathologist and a Lurie Children’s Otolaryngology (ENT) specialist. First, a perceptual speech assessment is performed where the speech language pathologist carefully prompts and listens for speech production sounds with syllables, individual words and in sentences. Then, a nasal endoscopy is performed. A nasal endoscopy is performed by a Lurie Children’s Otolaryngologist (ENT) specialist with a speech language pathologist and involves use of a flexible scope (a tiny camera) inserted into the nose to visualize the entire velopharyngeal port at the back of the nose. With the scope in place, the patient will be asked to again repeat various sounds, words and/or sentences so the provider can visualize movement of the patient’s muscles while they speak. Usually, this procedure takes only a few minutes and provides the necessary information to guide the next steps of care. This may include further speech therapy or surgery in select cases.
Lurie Children’s pediatric specialists help make the nasal endoscopy as comfortable as possible for the patient. Please click here for the preparatory materials the hospital will provide your family before the procedure. Click here for the version of these materials for adolescents. Haga clic aquí para ver la versión en español. Y para los adolescentes aquí.