Specialty Medical Clinics: Physiatry and cleft lip/palate

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Children with Special Health Needs hosts two specialty medical clinics in various parts of the state, for cleft palate and for physiatry. There is no cost to attend these clinics, which give families access to a team of providers to support their child’s special needs.

A cleft lip or cleft palate happens when there is an opening or split in the upper lip, the roof of the mouth or both. It is not known what causes these openings when a baby is developing, but these clefts and needs related to them can be repaired and managed through surgery and specialized care. 

Physiatry is treatment for people diagnosed with complex orthopedic needs that result in chronic and significant mobility and balance issues.

CLEFT PALATE CLINIC

Who is the Cleft Palate Clinic for?

To be eligible, a child must be:

  • Under age 21
  • A Vermont resident*
  • Diagnosed with cleft lip, cleft palate and other complex needs because of palate, face and ear structure

*New York State residents might be able to be seen at this clinic. The Cleft Palate Clinic would work with these patients in the same way but may bill insurance, as appropriate.

How can the Cleft Palate Clinic help?

Each of our Rutland and Burlington based teams are made of a specialized team that evaluates the child’s need. The clinic teams often include a:

  • Plastic surgeon performs reconstructive and cosmetic surgery
  • Oral surgeon treats issues in the mouth, jaw and face
  • Pediatric otolaryngologist specializes in the ear, nose and throat
  • Orthodontist treats misaligned teeth
  • Speech pathologist evaluates and treats needs related to speech, language and swallowing
  • Geneticist diagnoses and treats genetic disorder or syndromes
  • Audiologist diagnoses and treats hearing problems
  • Social Worker provides support, primarily to family/caregiver, during and after the appointment
  • Dental hygienist performs oral screenings and education
  • Nurse coordinates care, clinic visits, provides on-going support and information
  • Pediatric Dentists are also available for consultation

Each child’s team is based on what the needs are; not everyone needs to have all of these specialists as part of the team. The focus of Clinic appointments is to evaluate a child’s needs, determine a care plan, and help a family to access the necessary care. Follow-up appointments are typically scheduled yearly. These appointments help to make sure that the child is able to get the needed on-going services and supports. At these appointments, the team may identify that the care plan needs to be adjusted. The clinic nurse and social worker are available to the family at any time.

How Does a Child Access the Cleft Palate Clinic?

Anyone a medical provider, school staff or family member can identify that the Cleft Palate Clinic might be helpful. Making a referral to the team is easy and starts with a call or email to the clinic nurse. Referrals can be made at any time, but it is best, though, to make the call close to the time of diagnosis or when the concern is first identified. That way, the team is available as early as possible to help make a plan and guide treatment.

PHYSIATRY CLINIC

Who is the Physiatry Clinic for?

To be eligible, a child must be:

  • Under age 21
  • A Vermont resident
  • Diagnosed with complex orthopedic needs, that result in chronic and significant mobility and balance issues.
How can the Physiatry Clinic Help?

The Physiatry Clinic is a team of providers that evaluates a child’s needs and develops a plan of care. The clinic team often includes a:

  • Physiatrist a doctor who specializes in rehabilitation medicine
  • Physical therapist a specialist who works with the physiatrist to make sure the child receives specialized in-home and follow-up care 
  • Social worker someone who provides support, primarily to family/caregiver, during and after the appointment
  • Nurse clinical staff who coordinates care, clinic visits, provides on-going support and information
  • Orthotist a person from medical equipment vendor who helps to fit braces and prostheses

The focus of Clinic appointments is to evaluate a child’s needs, determine a plan of care, and help a family to access the necessary on-going specialized care. 

Follow-up appointments are scheduled based on the child’s need and are determined by the team. These appointments help to make sure that the child is able to get the needed on-going services and supports. At these appointments, the team may identify that the plan of care needs to be adjusted.  

The clinic nurse and social worker are available to the family at any time.

How Does a Child Access the Physiatry Clinic?

Anyone a medical provider, school staff or family member can identify that the Physiatry Clinic might be helpful. But, health care providers (like doctors or nurse practitioners) make the referral. Making a referral begins with a call or email to the clinic nurse.Referrals can be made at any time. It is best, though, to make the call close to the time of diagnosis or when the concern is first identified. Then, the team is can start as early as possible to help make a plan of care and guide on-going treatment.

Contact Us

Children with Special Health Needs
108 Cherry Street, Box 70
Burlington, VT 05402
Phone: 800-660-4427 or 802-863-7338
Fax: 802-863-7635