August 2008 Spasmodic Dysphonia Treatment Clinic
Jane - AD/SD 6 years (but with voice difficulties beginning intermittently in 1978). No treatment other than a one-day consultation with Morton Cooper earlier this year.
For those of you that are suffering with SD, this clinic is well worth your time and investment. I never told people (family, friends, or co-workers) I had SD. I hid behind it for six years-making excuses that I had laryngitis, allergies, a bad cold, or a virus. I depended on email for communication, and I would use every “crutch” in the book, not to have to talk to people or answer the phone, to just get by on a daily basis. I was emotionally and mentally drained from not dealing with this awful disorder. Having SD is a very lonely and frightening place to be. My ENT doctor told me it was incurable and that my voice would get progressively worse, and that botox was the only treatment. I refused botox injections and finding a local speech pathologist proved challenging, as there was no one familiar with how to treat SD. I found Connie through the internet in 2007 and corresponded with her for many months (plus purchased her book) before I made the commitment to the clinic. My five days there were shared with a wonderful group of ladies from all over the country. We bonded immediately and the group atmosphere provides participants with the support and encouragement needed to face and overcome this disorder. Connie is an excellent role-model, leader, mentor, and a wonderful speech pathologist. Her passion for helping people overcome SD is evident from the first moment you meet her. She provides us with her own story, her journey, complete with audio and video of her SD experience and how she overcame it without botox or surgery. She is a true inspiration that you can get your voice back. She is the real deal. My voice improved 70-80% and there were times I learned to speak in a normal voice with no SD at all.
During the five day clinic, we are given the tools, strategies, information, guidance, tapes, ”Hearphones”, computer software, and so many different things to assist us in our personal journey of voice recovery. It is a very intense five days of learning and worth every penny. Although it is a group clinic, every participant is given individual therapy from day one. You are given a comprehensive plan of action for everything from nutrition, posture, breathing techniques, and a lot of voice exercises to address your particular case of SD. When you leave the clinic, you feel empowered to take charge of your voice, your life, and your brain to do the things necessary to get your voice back. I know it will be a lot of hard work, but I know I can do it. Thank you Connie, Mike, Dr. Robbie, and Christine for your love, support, knowledge, guidance, and for being there. Thank you to my fellow participants for being the best group of women ever to go through this clinic with! We will keep in touch as we still need each other to share our joys, tears, and our progress in the months to come.
Valerie– AB/SD 25 years; extensive traditional speech and voice therapy
Massage therapy, biofeedback, botulinum toxin injections July 2000, October 2003, and regular injections December 2006 through December 2007 with some improvement but nothing dramatic, psychotherapy and medication.
For most of the 25 years that I have had SD, I have known that my voice was still in there somewhere and I was doing something wrong with the muscles in my abdomen. At times, I had success with speech therapy, but when symptoms would begin to reappear, I couldn’t identify what I was doing “wrong”. I had no idea how to get back to my voice. This clinic was a dream come true for me. I leave feeling relaxed, breathing freely and deeply, speaking perfectly much of the time, and with knowledge of how to get back to my voice when I have slips. I also have five wonderful new friends and two wonderful practitioners to call when I become discouraged or hit a rough voice spell. In addition, I have learned what I need to know to be able to continue to improve my voice, which improved 80% at the clinic. A million thanks!
Kaye –AD/SD 2 years–psychotherapy, traditional voice therapy, acupuncture
After suffering for two years and only hearing the word “botox” for a short fix, coming to this clinic was a gift from God. Connie and Michael are both angels here on earth to help all of us that have the frustration of SD. In just the first day, my voice improved over 50% - Wow! I was, and still am, so excited! It was actually the first time I had heard my true voice in over a year. I was back in the world of being free to speak. What a great feeling that is. It is so hard to explain to someone that has never had a voice problem. Over the past 4 days, my voice has continued to improve with all the tools and exercises given to me by Connie and Michael so that it is about 80% improved. My classmates – 5 wonderful women – were also a gift. WE all learned from each other during this week as we were all so different. But what a great support group we all have – and especially Connie and Mike at the head of it.
Ingrid – AB/ SD 5 years – no treatment
If you are dealing with SD, you could not come to a better place than this clinic. Connie and Mike are the most passionate people in helping victims of SD. They give you the tools to get over the disease. The rest is up to you to stick with it. My voice improved 90% at the clinic.
Silvia – AD/SD 3 years but with symptoms beginning in 1992
Short trial of voice therapy, two botulinum toxin injections, acupuncture, chiropractic, Reiki.
I highly recommend Connie’s clinic to any person suffering from SD. Since Connie herself suffered from SD and was able to heal herself, she completely understands the implications of SD and knows how to teach others to do the same for themselves. Connie is very passionate about her work and she is compassionate and sensitive to each individual’s needs. The clinic was much better than I expected. The flow of the sessions, the amount of days and the fact that the clinic was held at her house contributed to a wonderful experience. Also, having a group of only six was a positive aspect because it allowed our group to really bond and create a sisterhood of friendship and support, not only during the clinic, but for the future. It was great to meet other people that are also struggling with the same condition, because you get to learn not only from Connie and Mike, but also from each member of the group and their journey.
I thank Connie for giving me the gift of this experience. She taught me to accept SD as my teacher and to trust that just as she was healed, anyone suffering SD can also be healed. I thank Mike for teaching me how to breathe properly, for giving me many exercises that I can take home to practice so that I can recover my voice. I also thank Robbie and Christine for their contributions. Both were very helpful to me and my own process. Thank you for giving me HOPE!!
Jessie– Dystonia; probably segmental involving the voice, eyes and hands and vocal tremor for over 12 years – no treatment.
If you have SD or suspect you have SD, this is the place to be. Where else can you find a licensed speech pathologist who has had SD with all of the pains, agonies, and disappointments that go with it. Connie teaches from personal experiences rather than textbook theories. Michael White is a well-known breathing expert. His knowledge, techniques, and dedication leave you well prepared to complete all you have learned with handouts to take home. Robbie Goss, the psychologist, helps you identify factors, positive and negative, in your life that can further your development. Feel free to contact me at