Alexis sits on a blue chair in the middle of the room. “Hey, look at this book with us,” she parrots back to a therapist, squirming nervously. As the eight-year-old struggles to make the “b” sound in “book,” her voice trails off. Alexis was born with an opening between the roof of her mouth and her left nostril. Along with one in 700 newborns, she came into the world with a cleft palate. The scar from her reconstructive surgery has faded away, but her speech impediment is a constant reminder of how Alexis was born disfigured.
Science Notes, August 2013