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Smile with SIMON

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SMILE

WITH SIMON

Hello, my name is Patricia Simon. I am a Registered Nurse and am dedicated to being a patient advocate for those affected by cleft lip and palate.

There are many tools on this site to assist you. Resources to amazing organizations and people. I will be sharing my story with you. Hopefully, my story will offer support and encouragement to you.

Meet Simon & His Friends

Come meet some of Simon's friends. See pictures of our great supporters! 
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Simon's Resources

Find out more about Cleft Lips and Palates. Network resources: websites & contact links. 
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My Success Story

Learn More About Patricia Simon and Her Story, "Cleft Patient to Smile Maker."
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Simon Video

We may not be the same
And if we were it'd be a shame
You have a voice let go and sing
Open up just Spread your wings
CLICK IMAGE TO WATCH THE "SMILE WITH SIMON" VIDEO

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a cleft lip and cleft palate?
A cleft lip is a separation of the two sides of the lip. The separation often includes the bones of the upper jaw and/or upper gum. A cleft palate is an opening in the roof of the mouth in which the two sides of the palate did not fuse, or join together, as the unborn baby was developing. Cleft lip and cleft palate can occur on one side (unilateral cleft lip and/or palate) or on both sides (bilateral cleft lip and/or palate). Because the lip and the palate develop separately, it is possible for the child to have a cleft lip, a cleft palate, or both cleft lip and cleft palate.

How common are clefts?

Cleft lip and cleft palate are the most common birth defect in the United States – one of every 600 newborns is affected by cleft lip and/or cleft palate.

What are the causes of cleft lip and palate?

No one knows exactly, but most experts agree that the causes of cleft lip and/or palate are multifactorial and may include a genetic predisposition as well as environmental issues such as drug and alcohol use, smoking, maternal illness, infections, or lack of Vitamin B, also known as folic acid. In most cases, it is not known what has caused a cleft lip and/or palate, but research is ongoing to better understand the condition.

What does it mean to be a child with an untreated cleft?

Children with untreated clefts face physical difficulties eating, breathing, hearing, and speaking. Cleft treatment alleviates many of these difficulties, ultimately enabling them to thrive.

Can clefts be treated?

Reconstructive surgery for clefts has evolved over more than half a century, and today’s techniques and procedures have come a long way. The surgery today is simple and the transformation is immediate. Patients see their smile for the first time, parents cry tears of joy, and lives and communities are changed forever.
Can cleft lip and palate be detected in ultrasound
Orofacial clefts, especially cleft lip with or without cleft palate, can be diagnosed during pregnancy by a routine ultrasound. They can also be diagnosed after the baby is born, especially cleft palate. However, sometimes certain types of cleft palate (for example, submucous cleft palate and bifid uvula) might not be diagnosed until later in life.

When to see a doctor regarding cleft lip & palate

A cleft lip and cleft palate are usually noticed at birth, and your doctor may start coordinating care at that time. If your baby has signs and symptoms of a submucous cleft palate, make an appointment with your child's doctor.

Can cleft lip and cleft palate be prevented or avoided?

The exact cause of these birth defects is unknown. So, you cannot prevent or avoid them. But there are steps you can take to lower your risk of having a baby with a birth defect. These include:
- Taking folic acid before and during pregnancy.
- Avoiding tobacco, drugs, and alcohol during pregnancy.
- Getting to a healthy weight before pregnancy and not gaining too much weight during pregnancy.
- Getting vaccinations and protecting yourself from infections.

What can we expect with the proper treatment?

With treatment, most children with orofacial clefts do well and lead a healthy life. Some children with orofacial clefts may have issues with self-esteem if they are concerned with visible differences between themselves and other children. Parent-to-parent support groups can prove to be useful for families of babies with birth defects of the head and face, such as orofacial clefts.

Other issues related to children's cleft lip & palate

Children with a cleft lip with or without a cleft palate or a cleft palate alone often have problems with feeding and speaking clearly and can have ear infections. They also might have hearing problems and problems with their teeth.
A portion of all book proceeds will go to our support groups.
You can make a difference! Please find a list of Simon’s favorite groups to support on our Resources Page .
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