Craniofacial SIG : Spreading the Word on Special Needs and Advancing Evidence-Based Care

The Craniofacial Special Interest Group is working to improve our recognition and treatment of families struggling with cleft lip/palate and complex craniofacial conditions.

By Heather Snyder and Amy Conrad
The Society of Pediatric Psychology (SPP) Craniofacial Special Interest Group (SIG) was established October 2011 and is in alliance with the American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association (ACPA). Members include pediatric psychologists, students, and other professionals who work with children diagnosed with a craniofacial condition. The SIG seeks to improve understanding and treatment of behavioral, emotional, academic, medical, and familial issues that patients experience through evidence-based practice. Facts sheets that highlight some of these issues are available via the SPP evidence-based practice website for cleft lip/palate and complex craniofacial conditions.
Children with craniofacial conditions are often seen with their families in multidisciplinary clinics. One of the great difficulties in providing mental health services to these families is the diversity of staff available at different clinics. Some have psychologists and social workers dedicated full time to meeting with families, screening for concerns, and providing needed care. Other centers are unable to have full-time mental health staff connected to their clinics, so non-mental health professionals must screen and refer for the needs they are able to identify.

Craniofacial SIG Committees, Meetings

The Craniofacial SIG currently has two active committees that work to meet the needs of professionals working in craniofacial care: the Outreach/Recruitment Committee and the Evidence-Based Practices Committee.

The Outreach/Recruitment Committee informs professionals about the SIG through presence at conferences and meetings and maintains communication between members within the SIG. One recent example includes a two-hour symposium presented in April at the National Pediatric Psychology Conference in New Orleans. Despite travel delays, this symposium was presented in full through the assistance of Skype and some flexible and dedicated presenters. Information on psychosocial factors associated with pediatric craniofacial conditions and current clinical- and research-specific concerns were discussed. In May, an e-poster presented at the 12 th International Congress for Cleft Lip/Palate and Related Craniofacial Anomalies titled, “Psychology in Craniofacial Care: Development of a Special Interest Group,” highlighted the roles of psychologists and introduced the SIG to an international audience.
The Evidence-Based Practice Committee reviews and disseminates information on current practices and guides future directions. This committee has completed an SPP Assessment Resource Sheet and is working with ACPA on an Americleft initiative that involves identifying a psychosocial treatment and outcomes assessment plan for children with cleft lip/palate that is easily administered across a variety of cleft clinic settings.
Our second annual meeting was held in May at the 12 th International Congress on Cleft Lip/Palate and Related Craniofacial Anomalies. In addition to members, we were joined by social workers, pediatricians, and clinic directors who see a strong mental health need among their patients, but require more information on best practices in screening and referral. Both committees are working on further educational sessions and fact sheets/resources to aid professionals working in craniofacial care.
If you are interested in learning more about the Craniofacial SIG or would like to join the Craniofacial SIG, please contact Heather Snyder or Amy Conrad.