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The Velopharyngeal Dysfunction (VPD) Clinic at Children’s Mercy helps children with velopharyngeal dysfunction (VPD), a condition where parts of the throat and soft palate do not work right during speech. When a child has VPD, air escapes through their nose during speech. This causes hypernasal speech, which can sometimes be difficult to understand.

As the only pediatric-specific VPD program in the region, our goal is to help every child communicate as effectively and comfortably as possible.

What to expect

At the VPD Clinic, you’ll see an ear, nose and throat specialist and a speech pathologist who will work together to find the best course of treatment for your child.

The speech therapist will evaluate your child to get a sample of how they sound while talking.

The doctor will use different tools to learn more about how the soft palate in the back of the mouth is moving. Often, this will include placing a tiny soft ‘spaghetti noodle’ camera into the child’s nose to watch the soft palate move while the child is speaking. We always have Child Life services available to make the visits more comfortable and fun for the kids.

Treatment options

Depending on the type of VPD your child has, we can tailor various therapy options to meet their needs. Therapies may include:

  • Specific targeted speech therapy
  • Surgery on the soft palate or the back of the throat to correct air loss out of the nose with speech, such as posterior pharyngeal flap and sphincter pharyngoplasty

Making an appointment

Your primary care provider or speech therapist can submit a referral through our Provider Portal, or you can call (816) 234-3040 to make an appointment with the Velopharyngeal Dysfunction (VPD) Clinic.


Follow-up care


Our comprehensive care team will continue to work with you until your child’s speech issues are resolved. We look forward to caring for your child.