In July 2020, as part of CLAPA’s Adult Services Project, we published our paper on Physical Health in the Cleft Palate Craniofacial Journal (CPCJ).
In January 2020, as part of CLAPA’s Adult Services Project, we published our paper on Emotional Wellbeing in the Cleft Palate Craniofacial Journal (CPCJ).
The outbreak of COVID-19 has resulted in unprecedented lockdowns and travel restrictions. In a year that had significant international plans across multiple continents, this will ultimately result in some impacts on this work.
After an incredible two years living and working in London, I am leaving Britain with a heavy (and full) heart, but also looking forward to taking up new opportunities back in my adopted homeland.
As we approach the turn of the decade, for this year’s “Year in Review” blog, I look back on the last decade with 10 of my most poignant photos of the 2010s.
Well it’s been a number of years since I’ve run for anything other than a bus, plane or train, but this December once again I’m donning a Santa suit and heading back to East Sussex where my journey all began to support CLAPA.
In 2014, I don’t know about you, but I was feeling 22. However, far from the carefree attitude of Taylor Swift, I had a lot on my mind that year as it was the year of my jaw surgery, something that was never far from the front of my mind. At the same time, I was busy with my third year of Uni, working as the CEO of Cleft NZ, working in tech support at TalkLink, and doing my best to be a functional adult in the flatting world.
“Congratulations you have a boy! He has a bit of a harelip, but looks otherwise healthy.”
I can’t describe the shock that I felt then. This wasn’t how it was meant to be. None of the books or antenatal classes prepared us for this. My head was in a spin wondering what this meant for our future and our baby’s future. I knew what a ‘harelip’ was, but I’d never known anyone with the condition.
Important note: This article relates to my personal involvement with the project in Australia in early 2018. It does not relate to any involvement by any of my past or present employers located in other countries.
Having been born with a visual difference has made me appreciate beauty in its many forms, and the fact that beauty is everywhere we look, we simply need only to open our eyes to it, and expand our minds beyond traditional stereotyped concepts of beauty. True beauty is all around, it’s the person across from you on the morning tube who catches your gaze and flashes you a smile, it’s your friend who spots you coming towards them and beams a welcoming grin, it’s your workmate smiling and greeting you on a Monday morning, it’s a family member’s open arms after a long journey home. I hope that rather than aspire to be like somebody else, we see our own beauty in the mirror and feel encouraged to embrace being ourselves because no-one else can do you quite like you.
We all know what it’s like. You’re driving home, and there’s that irritating pothole in the road yet again. It seemed like just last month that the council were out fixing it, and yet it’s back already. It’s frustrating – most of the time you’re paying attention and remember to swerve and avoid it, but sometimes you forget and you head straight into it, leading you to have to stop and assess for damage. Now, imagine that pothole is on the roof of your mouth.
Around 1 in 700 children in the UK are born with a cleft lip and/or cleft palate. This happens when the two sides of the lip and/or hard and soft palate (roof of the mouth) don’t join together and form a seam during antenatal development. The resulting gap or ‘cleft’ leads to an altered appearance, and often can result in difficulties with speech and hearing which are important to be aware of in the classroom environment.
Fortunately, with a bit of understanding and support, children who were born with a cleft can succeed in the classroom and achieve their literacy goals.