Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences


Speech Pathology and Audiology

First Advisor

Dr. Helen Sharp

Second Advisor

Dr. Stephen Tasko

Third Advisor

Dr. Dilip Patel

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


Adolescents born with a cleft lip or palate are in a unique position because they have received a lifetime of interdisciplinary team care where decisions are frequently made by parents, yet they are transitioning into a stage of life in which they will make their own health related decisions. Because of the complexity of their health needs, the preferred method of care is interdisciplinary team care (Nackashi, Dedlow, Dixon-Wood, 1997; Kummer, 2001). Little research has been conducted regarding the perceptions of adolescents with oral cleft about their care and issues of confidentiality in the context of team care. This study explored whether adolescents perceive that parental presence in the room affects the information they disclose to oral cleft team members, if adolescents have a preference for having a parent in the room, and if this varies by health profession.

Two focus groups were conducted with adolescents between the ages of 14 and 17 years, 11 months who have been seen in an oral cleft clinic within four years. Results indicated that parental presence does affect adolescent disclosure, adolescents may prefer that parents be present at times and excused from the room at times, and that these preferences vary by healthcare profession. These findings have important implications for understanding adolescents' perceptions of cleft care and to develop clinical protocols to facilitate confidentiality and the transition to independence in health care settings.