Together, cleft lip and cleft palate are the fourth most common birth defect in infants, and the most common congenital craniofacial condition. They occur when tissues of the mouth or lips do not form normally during pregnancy. If your infant is diagnosed with cleft lip and/or palate or another craniofacial condition, our team has the expertise to treat these conditions. Our multidisciplinary treatment approach allows us to address a wide spectrum of needs for each child.
We work closely with your primary care provider to coordinate care while conducting comprehensive evaluations, advanced surgical procedures and follow-up care.
Our services include:
Our Approach to Treatment
Our expert team provides continuous care for patients from birth until treatment is complete, often at age 21. With improved diagnostic information, many clefts are identified on prenatal ultrasounds. Families are provided information during prenatal consultations about the diagnosis and treatment objectives. After birth, we meet with families to evaluate your child, answer questions and discuss the treatment timeline. Our team is with you every step of the way. We also treat adults with craniofacial conditions.
Benefits of an Interdisciplinary Team Approach
The Carle method helps ensure comprehensive care. A child born with cleft lip, cleft palate or other craniofacial condition may have trouble with
When appropriate, our team recommends speech-language therapy, psychological counseling, surgical intervention or dental treatment. We also make referrals to other healthcare professionals, including neurosurgeons, prosthodontists, orthodontists, oral and maxillofacial surgeons, otolaryngologists, plastic and reconstructive surgeons, general dentists, pedodontists and geneticists. Further developmental, medical or educational evaluations may be recommended. This comprehensive approach results in a patient and family-centered treatment plan that is designed to meet the individual needs of each patient.
If a craniofacial condition is identified during pregnancy, your family has the option to meet with part of the Cleft Lip and Palate Team prior to delivery. This appointment may be virtual or in person and often includes the craniofacial surgeon, feeding and speech therapist, neonatologist, social worker, obstetrician, maternal fetal medicine doctor and nurse coordinator. Our goal is to share with you what to expect after delivery and in the first stages of care. This will be an opportunity to meet and ask questions of the surgeon and team of experts who will be caring for your child. The specific feeding needs of the baby with a cleft lip and/or palate will be discussed, and specialty feeding bottles will be demonstrated. You will be able to establish a connection with our care team so we can support you before and after your baby is born.
After your baby is born, they will be evaluated while in the hospital by a feeding specialist and a craniofacial surgeon. Providers will examine your child and discuss goals, treatment timeline and answer any questions you might have. Depending on how your baby does after birth, they may get to stay with you, or they may have to go to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) for more individualized care and attention. After your baby is discharged from the hospital, you can anticipate having a few follow-up visits to monitor growth and weight gain as well as answer any questions you may have.
Babies born with complete cleft lip and alveolus (tooth-bearing part of the jaw) or complete cleft lip and palate may be candidates for nasoalveolar molding (NAM). The NAM method is neonatal “orthodontics” that uses a custom acrylic retainer to move the alveolar segments closer, narrowing the cleft as well as molding the nasal cartilage. If you are interested in learning more about NAM or to find out if NAM is right for your baby, please call our office.
It’s common for your child to only see the speech pathologist/feeding specialist and surgeon for the first few months of life. This keeps the appointments shorter and more tailored to their needs.
Once your baby is close to a year old, we will set up an evaluation appointment to meet our multidisciplinary team of experts. Our cleft team is approved through the American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association (ACPA). The following will take place during this initial appointment:
Facebook Support Group
The Carle Cleft Lip and Palate Team currently manages a Cleft Craniofacial Facebook Support Group Page to provide an opportunity to share stories, seek support, ask questions and gain knowledge from medical professionals. You don’t need to be a Carle patient to join the group. For more information on the Cleft Craniofacial Facebook Support Group Page, click here.
We accept referrals for primary rehabilitation as well as secondary rehabilitation for older children and adults. These referrals can be made by the family, doctor, school personnel, dentist, orthodontist, pedodontist, social worker, speech-language pathologist, audiologist, nurse, and agencies such as the Division of Specialized Care for Children. Referrals and requests for information should be directed to: Jayne M. Wachtel, MA, CCC-SLP, coordinator, (217) 383-4383.
Our team’s social worker and business office personnel can help in exploring possibilities for financial assistance. When indicated, referrals for financial and programming assistance will be made to agencies such as the Division of Specialized Care for Children (DSCC). Coverage for evaluations and recommended treatments may be provided by the patient's health insurance.
Meet Our Team
Ashley E. Manlove, DMD, MD, FACS, Director
Jayne M. Wachtel, MA, CCC-SLP, Coordinator
Marie Walser, AuD, CCC-A
CRANIOFACIAL SURGERY/ORAL MAXILLARY SURGERY
Ashley E. Manlove, DMD, MD, FACS
Bev Bermingham, RDH
DIVISION OF SPECIALIZED CARE FOR CHILDREN (DSCC)
Summer L. Puckett, MS, CCC-SLP, Representative
Luis Rohena, MD
Zohra Shad, MD
MATERNAL FETAL MEDICINE
Ralph J. Kehl, MD
Allison Gaitros, BSN, RN
Robert W. Shafer, DDS
Ryan Porter, MD
Ronald C. Russo, MD
Brent A. Pearman, PA-C
Stefanie Schroeder, DO
Chifan Cheng, DDS
Jeslyn Roat, LSW
Jayne M. Wachtel, MA, CCC-SLP
Claire Heyman, MS, CCC-SLP
David P. Kuehn, PhD, University of Illinois
We’ve been approved as a Cleft Palate Team by the Commission on Approval of Teams, according to the Standards for Cleft Palate and Craniofacial Teams. For more information, visit team-approval.org.
Audiology, Hearing Services, Cleft Lip/Cleft Palate Clinic
With doctors practicing in 80 specialties at locations throughout the region, it’s easy to find the right healthcare team at Carle. Our mission is to serve people through high quality care, medical research and education.