The Story of NMSU’s Love for Kids with Cleft Palates

Free Clinic Looking and talking different is never a choice for some kids, especially those dealing with craniofacial abnormalities. Standing out can be painful, especially if their peers don’t understand. But when they are in the company of other kids in the same situation, they realize that they’re not so different after all.

New Mexico State University (NMSU) wanted to show some kids that they are not alone in the struggle — and that other people still love them for who they are.

A Safe Environment

According to CranioFacial MD, a local practice, most children with craniofacial abnormalities struggle to fit in with their peers. Because other children don’t understand the condition, teasing and bullying often occur, which impacts the affected child’s self-esteem.

Tenecia Trammel-Yeboah, a speech pathologist and an assistant professor for special education at NMSU, organized the event. The gathering’s primary goal was to provide a safe environment for children and their families, along with a team of physicians and clinicians representing multiple disciplines.

“The patients see their like peers, parents get to talk with other parents and compare notes. There’s no judgment here,” said Trammel-Yeboah.

The Need for No Judgment

Support is important for young patients and their families. The condition can be overwhelming, especially if the child is not mature enough to understand it just yet. Failure to understand the condition can affect a child’s psyche and it may be detrimental to their self-esteem.

The growing years are crucial for a child to develop a positive body image. Some kids won’t understand the situation, which results in some name-calling and negative opinions. Judgment is the last thing a child dealing with craniofacial abnormality needs, which is why NMSU organized the said event.

“We try to look at them holistically,” Trammel-Yeboah added. “It’s important to provide the physical care that they are going to need, but it’s also very important to provide the emotional care as well.”

Kids need to know that they’re not alone and that people care for them, despite it all. The NMSU did just that by showing these kids that they’re no different at all.