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Experiences of Transition to Secondary School in the United Kingdom for Children With Cleft Lip and/or Palate: A Qualitative Study

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>30/09/2021
<mark>Journal</mark>Continuity in Education
Issue number1
Number of pages12
Pages (from-to)109-120
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


This study explored the secondary school transition experiences of children with
cleft lip and/or palate (CL/P). Data were collected via semi-structured interviews and analysed using interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA). Participants were recruited from a National Health Service (NHS) specialist cleft service covering a large geographical area in the United Kingdom. Six participants with CL/P (aged 11–12 years old) in their first 12 months following transition to secondary school were interviewed. Four themes describe participants’ transition experiences: (a) managing and valuing difference: the impact on self-worth and identity; (b) managing and valuing difference within the social context; (c) disclosure and the process of informing others about CL/P; and (d) developing positive peer relationships. Children with CL/P experience several psychosocial challenges during the transition to secondary school. Professionals involved with working with and supporting these children (and their families), such as psychologists, school nurses or wellbeing staff, child psychiatrists, social workers, mental health nurses and pediatricians, should attend to these issues when preparing for this transition in order to foster resilience and adjustment.