Velopharyngeal Inadequacy (VPI) Clinic

What is Velopharyngeal Inadequacy (VPI) clinic?

The VPI Clinic at the IWK is a special clinic for children who may have problems with the resonance of their speech. A Nova Scotia Hearing Speech Centres speech-language pathologist (S-LP) is one part of the VPI clinic. When you come to the VPI clinic for the first time, your child will have at least two appointments. One will be with the S-LP, and the other will be with the Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) specialist. Both of these people will want to listen to your child talking and look inside your child’s mouth.

What are the typical assessment procedures?

Testing with the S-LP may take up to one hour. The S-LP will listen to your child’s speech by asking him or her to name pictures, repeat sentences or answer questions. The S-LP will listen to how your child makes different sounds and will check to see if any sound or air is coming out your child’s nose when he or she is speaking. The appointment with the ENT specialist does not take very long (about 10 minutes) unless special evaluations are needed.

After the ENT specialist and the S-LP see your child, they might decide that your child needs further evaluations. They might want to use a special camera or an X-ray to look at your child’s palate and the muscles at the back of the throat while the child is speaking.

Sometimes we will ask the plastic surgeon to see a child in the VPI Clinic. Sometimes we will send you and your child to see the geneticist. Your child might need to have a hearing test with the audiologist as well.

The S-LP and ENT specialist will decide whether or not your child should come back to the VPI clinic again. They will send the results of their evaluation to the individual who referred your child to the VPI clinic.

Who can be referred?

Any child with suspected velopharyngeal inadequacy can be referred to the S-LP with the VPI Clinic (IWK).

Who can refer?

Children are referred to the VPI Clinic by their family doctor, an Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) specialist, pediatrician, geneticist or a speech-language pathologist (S-LP).

Who should be contacted with the referral?

Sara Dickie
Administrative Support Professional

Nova Scotia Hearing and Speech Centres
c/o IWK Health Centre
PO Box 9700
Halifax, NS  B3K 6R8
Phone: (902) 470-8049
Fax: (902) 470-7950