Screening for Academic Risk Among Students With Cleft Lip and/or Palate: Patterns of Risk and Qualities of Effective Tools

Amy L. Conrad, Claudia Crilly Bellucci, Celia E. Heppner, Meredith Albert, Canice E. Crerand, Suzanne Woodard, Farah Sheikh, Kathleen A. Kapp-Simon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective : This study evaluated the effectiveness of academic screening measures in relation to parent-reported diagnoses. Design : Multicenter, retrospective cohort study including structured interviews, questionnaires, and chart reviews. Setting : Six North American cleft centers. Participants : Children (n = 391) with cleft lip and/or palate, ages 8 to 10 years of age (192 male) and their guardians were recruited during regular clinic visits. Main Outcome Measures : Parent and child ratings on the Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory (PedsQL) School Scale, child report on CleftQ School Scale, parent report on the Adaptive Behavior Assessment System-Third Edition Functional Academics (ABAS-FA) Scale and Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) School Competency Scale, parent interview, and medical chart review. Results : Risk for concerns ranged from 12% to 41%, with higher risk reflected on the CBCL-SC compared to other measures. Males with cleft palate were consistently at the highest risk. Only 9% of the sample had a parent-reported diagnosis of a learning or language disability. Ratings from the ABAS-FA and CBCL-SC had the highest utility in identifying those with language and/or learning concerns. Conclusions : As cleft teams work to develop standardized batteries for screening and monitoring of patients, it is important to evaluate the effectiveness of measures in identifying those at highest risk. When screening for language and learning disorders, questions related to potential academic struggles, such as increased school effort or increased school distress, are most useful. Referrals for follow-up evaluation are recommended for those identified at high risk.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalCleft Palate-Craniofacial Journal
StateAccepted/In press - 2022


  • nonsyndromic clefting
  • psychological assessment
  • quality of life

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oral Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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