Children born with cleft palate are at a marked risk for complications associated with respiratory distress as well as impaired cognitive function. Because cleft complications are often attributed to abnormal fetal development, the other health risks that develop are typically in response to this abnormal development as well. If you are the parent of a child who was born with cleft palate, it is important to become familiar with the respiratory impairments your child may have including issues associated with Pierre Robin sequence.
Children who are diagnosed with Pierre Robin sequence experience a unique set of health complications associated with respiratory distress. When afflicted with this condition, there is a marked risk for severe upper airway obstruction in addition to complications associated with malsorption. While these complications are significant to your child’s well being, they are also adverse issues that can impact a child’s cognitive development and psychosocial development.
In children who experience complications with respiratory distress, there is often a decrease in oxygen to the brain, a deterioration in neurological function, and complications associated with general mental well being. It is important, therefore, that if your child has cleft palate while also living with Pierre Robin sequence, which you seek out not only the appropriate medical services, but also the appropriate psychological and cognitive health services as well.
In many cases, a child’s cognitive impairment, and psychological or social issues, are associated with complications related to the way they are treated rather than a self-perception complication. In fact, a child with cleft palate and Pierre Robin sequence often has a very high self-esteem aside from general social interaction and treatment by family members and friends. When placed into the realm of public scrutiny, however, these same children can develop lower self-esteem and may begin to demonstrate cognitive impairment and psychosocial complications in response to their environment.
With mental health services, especially those services designed to assist children with disabilities, there can be a profound improvement in your child’s health by simply finding a health specialist who can assist your child in navigating the world around them. Typically, this type of therapy will require family group therapy as well as all individuals involved in your child’s care will need to assist in helping your child overcome the social issues. In most cases, even when there is an organic cognitive deficit with Pierre Robin syndrome, your child can overcome these health issues with the right mental health support.
As the parent of a child with Pierre Robin sequence, it is important to become familiar with not only the physical impairments your child may face, but also the psychosocial issues associated with cognitive impairment. In the long term, your child will have a far better outcome with your support and guidance in managing the variety of internal emotions as well as social influences that can cause a disruption in cognitive function.
Sources: Acta Paediatrica, 2008: 97; pp. 654-655.