About Special Interest Group 5, Craniofacial and Velopharyngeal Disorders


SIG 5 facilitates the highest level of knowledge and professional practice in the provision of care to individuals with craniofacial anomalies/cleft palate and velopharyngeal disorders.

Mission Statement

To be the voice within ASHA that promotes, interprets, and disseminates information relevant to the interdisciplinary study, research, and practice of congenital or acquired craniofacial and velopharyngeal disorders and to serve as a conduit for the exchange of information and ideas among SIG affiliates.


  • To create and maintain greater visibility and a higher profile for the area of craniofacial and velopharyngeal disorders within ASHA and allied fields.
  • To serve as liaison with other professional organizations interested in cleft palate and other craniofacial and velopharyngeal disorders, including the American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association (ACPA).
  • To serve as the "go to" resource within ASHA for cleft/craniofacial professional education and for guidance in collaborative care with the cleft lip and palate/craniofacial team.
  • To ensure that speech services for individuals with cleft palate, other disorders of the craniofacial complex, and velopharyngeal dysfunction are provided by qualified individuals, and to continuously update clinicians and consumers regarding new developments in craniofacial anomalies/cleft palate and velopharyngeal disorders.
  • To broaden ASHA sponsored professional education opportunities, including aligning with the Speech/Resonance Disorders topic area for the annual ASHA Convention and providing ongoing web chats and presentations at the Schools Conference and other professionally related venues and activities.
  • To disseminate timely information concerning research, clinical activities, meetings, and educational opportunities related to craniofacial and velopharyngeal disorders through the SIG 5 Online Community and regularly scheduled issues of SIG 5 Perspectives.

Study Issues

  • Craniofacial anomalies/cleft palate and related structural disorders
  • Normal speech anatomy and physiology
  • Velopharyngeal dysfunction (VPD) in cleft and noncleft disorders
  • Early speech and language development
  • Early feeding disorders
  • Compensatory articulations and other cleft-related errors
  • Cleft/VPD related resonance disorders
  • Dentofacial, orofacial, and occlusal disorders
  • Speech therapy techniques
  • Speech outcomes and quality of life
  • Bilingual populations
  • Speech and velopharyngeal consequences of acquired disorders due to facial trauma, oral/pharyngeal cancers, and neurologic origin
  • Instrumental evaluation of velopharyngeal anatomy and function

Professional Issues

  • Interdisciplinary team care
  • Practice standards/clinical guidelines for evaluation, diagnosis, treatment of the broad spectrum of structural and functional disorders of the craniofacial complex
  • Instrumentation and technology; computer applications
  • Identification of high priority clinical and research needs
  • Preparation of clinicians and researchers
  • Effective dissemination of information
  • Provision of resources

Affiliate Benefits and SIG Programs

Perspectives of the ASHA Special Interest Groups

Perspectives of the ASHA Special Interest Groups is the SIG's online publication. SIG 5's continuously-built issue contributes 2 self-study CE activities a year.

Online Chats

SIGs sponsor live online chats. These events feature topic experts who answer questions from the audience. All ASHA and NSSLHA members may attend. Live online chats are not eligible for CEUs. Archived chats can be accessed online.

Continuing Education

  • The SIG sponsors a Short Course and a seminar at the annual ASHA Convention.
  • Perspectives contains continuing education articles. Readers may earn ASHA continuing education credit by completing self-study questions related to those articles. SIG affiliates may complete the self-study for a $5 processing fee.
  • Short Course: SIG affiliates are eligible for a 50% discount on select Short Courses at the ASHA Convention.


SIG affiliates have the opportunity to identify others with interest in craniofacial and velopharyngeal disorders:

  • SIG 5 has an online community where affiliates can discuss topics related to craniofacial and velopharyngeal disorders.
  • SIG 5 holds an annual affiliate meeting at the ASHA Convention.

Representation Within ASHA

  • The SIG 5 Coordinator represents the Craniofacial and Velopharyngeal Disorders Special Interest Group within the ASHA Board of Special Interest Group Coordinators.
  • The Coordinating Committee responds to ASHA requests for input regarding policy, guidelines, committees, and other issues.
  • Affiliates have the opportunity to provide input to the SIG leadership and ASHA.

Coordinating Committee Members

  • 2016–2017 Coordinator: Scott A. Dailey, University of Iowa
  • 2017–2018 Associate Coordinator: Amy Rose Morgan, Shriners Hospitals for Children—Chicago
  • 2017–2019 Perspectives Editor: Dennis M. Ruscello, West Virginia University
  • 2014–2017 Professional Development Manager: Jaime L. Perry, East Carolina University
  • 2016–2018 Member-At-Large: Kerry Callahan Mandulak, Pacific University, School of Communication Sciences and Disorders
  • 2016–2018 Member-At-Large: Kristina Wilson, Texas Children's Hospital
  • Ex Officio: Ann-Mari Pierotti, Associate Director, Clinical Issues in Speech-Language Pathology, ASHA

Editorial Review Committee

  • Dennis M. Ruscello, Editor
  • Joan C. Arvedson
  • Anne P. Bedwinek
  • Dana R. Collins
  • Caitlin Cummings
  • Lynn M. Fox
  • Karen Golding-Kushner
  • Brenda Loxton Louw
  • Katlyn Elizabeth McGrattan
  • Dorie A. Mendell
  • Mary M. O'Gara
  • Alison R. Scheer-Cohen
  • Linda Vallino
  • Thomas L. Watterson
  • Jamie L. Perry, Professional Development Manager
  • Ann-Mari Pierotti, Ex Officio

Professional Development Committee

  • Jamie L. Perry, Professional Development Manager
  • Kristen E. DeLuca
  • Lynn Marty Grames
  • Sara L. Kinter
  • Alison R. Scheer-Cohen
  • Nancy J. Scherer
  • Dennis M. Ruscello, Editor
  • Ann-Mari Pierotti, Ex Officio

Staff Liaison for Communications

Frank Wisswell, Production Editor, ASHA

Liaisons to the ASHA Board of Directors

  • Robert C. Fifer, 2016–2018 Vice President for Audiology Practice
  • Sandra Laing Gillam, 2015–2017 Vice President for Speech-Language Pathology Practice

ASHA Corporate Partners