Thursday, 18 October 2007

The Smile Train - Cleft Lip and Palate

I have included this charity of 'Smile Train' today as when I have an extra £150 I do give them it for an operation.

I do this because Jack was born with a cleft lip and palate. It seemed most unfair at the time as because I admit to a general louche lifestyle at the moment when I was carrying Jack I was downing V8 vegetable juices and remember that because I was working as a legal secretary at the time I went out and bought a special screen so that my unborn child was not exposed to harmful radiation from the screen. But such is the lottery of life. That's why I do what I want now, as long as it doesn't hurt anyone else. Carpe Diem.

Jack was born with a worse cleft than the one in the screen. Two hours after he was born (one of the ugliest babies I have ever seen in my life) the consultant orthodontist from Hull Royal Infirmary Mr Coope was there (at 8 am on a Sunday) with a picture of his sister in her graduation gown. She also had had a cleft lip and palate and was the reason he went into orthodontics.

Jack has had quite a lot of operations and years of speech therapy and the above picture shows what he looks like now. We were very lucky in that we lived near a centre of excellence (Hull Royal Infirmary) and had his operations done by Mr Hart who climbs the Himayalas in his spare time to raise money for kids who aren't so lucky as Jack, in the third world.

The best thing that ever happened to Jack was meeting his little mate Alex who is a little bruiser of a kid who stood up for Jack during his early years and helped him and gave him the confidence and humour to fight back, and helped to turn him into the kid you see in the picture, a bit of a lady killer in the making, though I say so myself.


Bobbie said...

Beverly, what an inspiring story. Why not put a donate button on your blog?

Frances said...

And he is a very handsome boy. Lucky you got such a good specialist. I have seen some cobbled together jobs on people in the past. Was the speech therapy effective?
If I have any spare pennies I will keep this in mind, so Bobbie's idea is a very good one - they must have a link you can put on for donations.

Beverley said...

We were very lucky that Jack was born when he was because I too remember very cobbled together jobs on people in the past. Such are the advances in plastic surgery that with Jack you can hardly tell and he can have a final 'tidying up' op as a teenager if he wants it. They used the 'Scandindavian' method on Jack's original op where apparently you use the minimum of (hope you're not eating your tea)cuts and let nature do the rest. In the past they used to mess about too much with the face and the results weren't too good.

Jack now has perfect speech and you can't tell he has had anything wrong with him. It wasn't always so and when he was three only I could understand what he was saying and he had a stammer. We got the best speech therapist in the area, Liz Buckles, and Jack had five years of therapy and indeed features on some training videos! Interesting, speech therapy. Some of it was quite similar to the phonetics which they use in some schools in that Jack had to do a snake movement and make a hissing sound for 's' and pretend to make gulg down water for 'g'. Some sounds he couldn't manage at all like 'd' so we used to substitute a 't' for it. We used all sorts of toys like 'Pop Up Pirate' as little rewards when he got things right (you stick lots of swords in and eventually the pirate pops up), which eventually came in useful when I was a teaching assistant helping another little boy.

Bez said...

Touching story that Bev, and wonderful that you still make donations. Sounds like you've been an awesome mum, you can be very proud.

Frances said...

Good for all of you - glad it all paid off. So great that they sorted out the speech so thoroughly. So important for children - they can be teased horribly - unless they are lucky enough to have a champion like Jack did! Friends make such a difference.
My nephew is having speech therapy. He had some hearing problem at a key moment and didn't pick up consonants. He had therapy for a while and then they thought he was okay. Later on he had an awful teacher who didn't realise it was a physical problem. Luckily he then had a fantastic teacher who said he should get back into therapy so that he would be less likely to be held back or bullied in secondary school. Bless her. He's flourishing now.

Beverley said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Beverley said...

Jack had glue ear which was undiagnosed, connected to his problem, which didn't help matters. Hearing problems need to be detected early. I remember reading somewhere that some kids with glue ear (which is very common)get into trouble because the teachers think they are being naughty when in fact they can't hear the instructions. Jack had little grommets put in his ears to drain out the fluid, but they eventually grow out of it.

Sweet Irene said...

Wow Bev, what a story. You certainly helped pull that little guy through it all. He sure looks like a very good looking kid now. I am sure he was very loved by you all along and I think it is wonderful how you helped him and how he was able to receive such good care. We are lucky in the Western world, aren't we, with all the good medicine we get. Yes, you should have a donate button on your blog. I bet it wouldn't be that hard to install.