This June, Marie Pinkstone (CLEFT Trustee) and Izzy Snape, a member of the CLEFT Trainee section, came together to introduce CLEFT to the wider Speech and Language Therapy (SLT) students at University College London. 


Marie Pinkstone (left) and Izzy Snape (right)

The afternoon presentation coincided with the Cleft Lectures from the North Thames Cleft Service based at Great Ormond Street Hospital. The focus of the lecture was to introduce our work and ethos plus to bring opportunities to become involved with the charity through its many areas. 

The presentation included the history of the charity from its initial development in 2007 with links to the North Thames Regional Cleft Service to where we are now as a National Charity. They also shared the ethos and values of our international work and how we differ from other cleft charities outside of the UK. In addition, they focused on the vision of the charity to Bridge the Gap physically, then knowledge and geographically through our work in low- and middle- income countries. 

Developing the evidence plus research outcomes and findings were also shared and they discussed the recent conference presentation on Understanding the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the early speech and language development of children born with cleft lip and/or palate. This is an important project funded and supported by CLEFT. 

In addition, Marie shared CLEFT's work in Bangladesh and how we work in collaboration with the SLT Department at the Department of Communication, Dhaka University and the challenges of developing an assessment tool in Bangla. Marie was able to illustrate the complexities of consonants in Bangla and how it was important to select sentences and pictures that were appropriate for the children and young people. The assessment is in its infancy, but we hope to have the sentences and a picture book ready for clinical use in the coming months. 

Marie and Izzy encouraged the students to join the charity and to look at the website for our events and how to get involved…… all the students valued the leaflets and gave positive feedback. We hope to repeat this again across many different student groups to develop our engagement and profile.