Serious facial asymmetries and deformities, such as cleft palate and cleft lip, can impede a child’s ability to eat, sleep, and breathe. The emotional and psychological toll such conditions can produce are sometimes less obvious, but no less devastating to children and their families.
Research has shown that the more symmetrical a child’s features appear, the more others tend to view him or her as “attractive,” and therefore as more intelligent, competent, and worthy of positive attention. Self-perception and parental perceptions also play major roles in shaping children’s behavior. Children with cleft problems and other oro-facial abnormalities are more likely to struggle with feelings of low self-worth. In addition, their parents may be more likely to accept inappropriate behavior from them or become so over-protective that they hamper their child’s positive social development.
Peers may tease and bully children based on their facial asymmetries or the speech problems associated with them. A study reported in the European Journal of Orthodontics in 2005 found that children with cleft palate or cleft lip experienced more teasing, reported more negative behavior patterns, and were less confident about their personal appearance.
Thanks to the work of myFace and its dedicated donors, $3 million annually now goes to help children move forward to lead healthier, more confident lives.