UCL Psychology and Language Sciences


Speech Science Forum - Robert Fujiki

08 February 2024, 4:00 pm–5:00 pm

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Voice, Resonance, and Emotional Factors in Children with Cleft Palate and Lip

Event Information

Open to



Rana Abu-Zhaya

Voice disorders impede communication and diminish quality of life for as many as 6% of the general pediatric population. Children with cleft palate with or without cleft lip (CP+L) are at particular risk for voice disorders, and approximately 20% present with laryngeal pathology. This increased risk may be related to velopharyngeal dysfunction (VPD) as children with VPD often employ aerodynamic compensations on a laryngeal level to produce voice. This presentation will discuss studies examining the prevalence of dysphonia in children with CP+L, the manner in which dysphonia influences assessments of resonance. In addition, factors which influence emotional development in children with CP+L will be discussed, including data suggesting that children with CP+L present with reduced facial mimicry. Facial mimicry helps an individual simulate and experience an emotion they perceive in another person, thereby leading to the development of emotion understanding. Children with repaired cleft lip may have reduced ability to mimic facial expressions due to limited range of motion. They may also perceive reduced facial expressions from interactional partners due to disrupted eye contact and reaction to facial differences. Research findings suggesting downstream effects of reduced facial mimicry on emotion recognition, empathy, and emotion expression in children with repaired CP+L will be discussed.

This is an online event: https://ucl.zoom.us/j/93432042445?pwd=dTJBc3dvQXlDZzEwUlF4eDF0L2pOUT09

About the Speaker

Robert Fujiki

Postdoctoral Research Fellow at The University of Wisconsin–Madison

I am a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Wisconsin-Madison working with Dr. Susan Thibeault. I am also a clinical speech-language pathologist in the voice, swallow, and craniofacial anomalies clinics at American Family Children’s Hospital. My research focuses on characterizing the manner in which voice, upper airway, and resonance disorders present in children and adolescents. As such, my goals focus on improving treatment efficacy and efficiency, as well as adapting diagnostic protocols for use with pediatric populations.

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