Academic achievement in children with oral clefts versus unaffected siblings

J Pediatr Psychol. 2014 Aug;39(7):743-51. doi: 10.1093/jpepsy/jsu049. Epub 2014 Jul 3.


Objective: To compare academic achievement in children with oral-facial clefts (OFC) with their unaffected siblings.

Methods: 256 children with OFC were identified from the Iowa Registry for Congenital and Inherited Disorders, and 387 unaffected siblings were identified from birth certificates. These data were linked to Iowa Testing Programs achievement data. We compared academic achievement in children with OFC with their unaffected siblings using linear regression models, adjusted for potential confounders. In post hoc analyses, we explored modifiers of siblings' academic performance.

Results: Achievement scores were similar between children with OFC and their siblings. Children with cleft palate only were significantly more likely to use special education than their unaffected siblings. Siblings' academic achievement was inversely related to distance in birth order and age from the affected child.

Conclusion: Children with OFC and their siblings received similar achievement scores. Younger siblings, in particular, may share a vulnerability to poor academic outcomes.

Keywords: academic achievement; orofacial cleft; sibling.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Achievement*
  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Cleft Palate / psychology*
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Siblings / psychology*
  • Young Adult