Bia’s Smile: An Health Education Instrument On Cleft Lip And Palate

Research Article
Maria do Rosário Dias., Ana Cristina Neves., Inês Santos and Rita Ferreira
Clef lip and palate; Social exclusion; Stigmatisation; Mental health education.

The human smile is a hegemonic factor to an aesthetically harmonious facial appearance and it is an elementary agent in a child’s socialisation. Children manifesting sequels associated with clef lip and palate (CLP) are likely to be targets of discriminatory attitudes; in the eyes of society, their aesthetically mutilated faces reach conspicuous stigmatizing visibility. Preventive interventions tackling social exclusion should be implemented, first and foremost, at schools; they should involve multidisciplinary teams and be aimed at enabling behavioural skills and social aptitudes among the peers of children with CLP, so as to allow deconstruction of prejudice associated with this condition. The health education tool now introduced is a children’s book titled Bia’s Smile. Its ludic-pedagogic goal is to build awareness and sensitivity in children aged 4 to 7 years old, as well as alert and inform education agents on the issue, with the ultimate object of the book being the eradication of social exclusion and bullying experienced by children with CLP. The children’s book / learning textbook to mental health was designed so as to include a set of pictograms, inserted in the story’s narrative. It should be noted that the available literature reveals a paucity of preventive programs on this issue, both at national and international level, which amplifies the pertinence of our ludicpedagogic project.