Providing Early Detection & Continuity of Care
The halls of MECA Therapies, a local early childhood services provider, were filled with laughter and discussion from children and families during the biannual Las Cruces Cleft Palate Clinic.
The Las Cruces Cleft Palate Clinic was established in Las Cruces to serve patients in the southern New Mexico area and provides comprehensive cleft evaluations and provide highly specialized services, according to the New Mexico Cleft Palate Center, an independent, multi-disciplinary team committed to the care of children born with cleft lip and palate.
“Our goal is to bring to these children, the highest level and standard and care for clefts and make sure they meet national and international standards of cleft care,” said Dr. Luis Cuadros.
Dr. Cuadros has been providing cleft care for over 25 years. He has extensive experience in the surgical management of cleft lip and palate. He is the medical director of the New Mexico Cleft Palate Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where services are provided all year. The Las Cruces Cleft Palate Clinic provided services for almost 30 families from around the region during their biannual clinic on November 4th, 2017. The clinic serves at capacity during every event.
The cleft palate clinic provides families with an extensive screening to identify problems related to cleft palates or cleft lip or both. The clinic also allows families to make contact with all the providers that will provide treatment for the condition along their journey, and to receive up-to-date treatment.
Lincoln Moreno received services during the clinic to get updated treatment from the providers. Lincoln also went through a procedure for his cleft lip, and has completely recovered. Lincoln’s mother Deanna Moreno values the clinic as a resource for her son.
“The clinic has been great for us. It really exposed us to a lot of providers here in town that we didn’t know about before,” Deanna said. “Speech therapy for Lincoln was a big one because he has already gone through a year of speech therapy. So meeting the early intervention team and finding the right path for us to take to see where we need to go, resources wise for him, and what the next steps should be has been wonderful. That’s been the best part of it is getting a head start with what the next couple of years will look like for Lincoln.”
Little Lincoln is active and healthy and enjoys spending time with his older brother Isaias.
Colleen Villanova of Las Cruces discovered her daughter Alyndria had a cleft lip at 20 weeks during a routine ultrasound at New Mexico Sonographics, who provide 3D/4D ultrasound services. Colleen and her family have taken steps to get treatment and support. Alyndria attended the Las Cruces Cleft Palate Clinic.
“The cleft palate clinic is a good way to get everything done at once. Because it’s hard to go around to all the different doctors’ offices, to meet with all the different people because of the time,” Colleen said. “It’s nice to have everything done in 2 hours.”
Colleen said the services that were provided by the clinic have been important for Alyndria and her overall health.
“If anyone has a child that is getting diagnosed in utero, learn what you can, work with the professionals because they know what they are doing,” Colleen said. “Don’t worry about everything. It really will be okay.”
Baby Alyndria is a healthy, happy baby and will be receiving services from Dr. Cuadros and his team to treat a cleft lip in December.
The Las Cruces Cleft Palate Clinic team consists of qualified providers in the following specialties:
- Plastic surgeons,
- Oral & maxillofacial surgery,
- Speech pathology,
- ENT/otology (hearing),
- Feeding and nutrition
“It seemed to me and others that there were a large number of kids with cleft in southeastern New Mexico that needed services and surgeries and close follow-up,” Dr. Cuadros explained. “So traditionally, they had been getting services through the state and randomly, so we’ve put together a clinic with a group of involved people including, NMSU, Children’s Medical Services, and UNM to try and put together as many kids as we can to bring them up-to-date on treatment.”
The Las Cruces Cleft Palate clinic is a partnership between MECA Therapies, New Mexico State University, New Mexico Cleft Palate Center, the New Mexico Department of Health, and the University of New Mexico, and is hosted at MECA Therapies in Las Cruces.
Roberta Martinez-Flores, Cleft Palate Clinic Coordinator and Co-owner of MECA Therapies indicated that speech services are being provided for children with cleft lip and/or palate through both their Early Childhood Program as well as through their Children’s Outpatient Clinic.
Roberta also explained that the collaboration and participation with the Cleft Palate team has been both positive and beneficial to MECA Therapies staff as well as families served.
“This partnership has provided our Speech-Language Pathologists with direct training from Dr. Cuadros as well as consistent consultation with other health care providers in the community,” said Roberta. “Because of that, children get specialized therapy as well as a continuum of care from the time they are infants throughout their school age years.”
The next Las Cruces Cleft Palate Clinic is going to be Saturday, April 28, 2018 at MECA Therapies in Las Cruces. The clinic is open and free to all patients of all ages.
According to the New Mexico Cleft Palate Center, cleft lip and palate occurs in approximately 1.5 to 2.0 per 1,000 births in New Mexico, making the developmental condition the most common to affect newborn babies.
For more information and to set up an appointment with the clinic, contact Roberta Martinez-Flores at roberta@mecatherapies or (575) 522-9502. Or, contact Dr. Caudros at info@NMcleft.org or 505-243-7670. You can visit NMcleft.org.