Emergence of prevocalic stop consonants in children with repaired cleft palate

David J. Zajac, Linda D. Vallino, Adriane L. Baylis, Reuben Adatorwovor, John S. Preisser, Daniela Vivaldi, Bharath Chandrasekaran, Julie D. Anderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Purpose: This study determined the time course of the emergence of prevocalic stop consonants in young children with cleft palate following surgical repair. Method: A total of 120 children in four cohorts from three institutions were followed from 12 to 24 months of age: (a) 24 with repaired cleft lip and palate (CLP), (b) 36 with repaired cleft palate only (CP), (c) 33 without clefts but with histories of frequent otitis media and ventilation tubes (OM), and (d) 27 typically developing (TD) children without clefts or OM. Emergence of prevocalic stops and symbolic language skills were determined during administration of the Communication and Symbolic Behavioral Scales Developmental Profile. Parametric survival models were fitted with and without covariates-recruitment site, gender, maternal education level, middle ear status, language ability, and age at surgery for children with clefts-to describe the time course of the emergence of prevocalic stops. Results: The estimated age at which 80% of children demonstrated prevocalic stop emergence was 15.0, 15.3, 18.9, and 21.8 months for TD, OM, CP, and CLP groups, respectively (p <.001, unadjusted model). Both CP and CLP cohorts had a significantly longer time to stop emergence than either the TD or OM cohorts, even after adjusting for covariates. Abnormal middle ear status, lower symbolic language ability, and older age at palatal surgery were significantly associated with delayed stop emergence. Conclusions: Survival model estimates show that four out of five children with repaired cleft palate will achieve emergence of prevocalic stop consonants by 19-22 months of age, corresponding to 9-12 months following palate repair. Clinical implications are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)30-39
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing


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