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January 2006 Spasmodic Dysphonia Treatment Clinic
The January clinic took on a different climate. It was conducted in a retreat-like setting in Apollo Beach, just south of Tampa, FL. The intensity of the clinic remained intact, but was contrasted by times of relaxation by the pool, in the hot tub, or viewing the Manatees in the warm channel waters. Healthy drinks and snacks were plentiful and participants expressed their delight in the sunny warmth of a Florida "winter". As with the initial clinic, group dynamics and support were a key component. All participants gained insight into their specific problems; and agreed that while the work was intense, the fun times offered rest and relaxation and lots of laughter. Karaoke night was a big hit!
Here are some testimonials from the January clinic:
Nancy (Adductor 20+ years):
I feel that I was led to a path that will prove fruitful. I benefited greatly from the knowledge and skills of the facilitators, as well as the empathy, compassion and wise counsel. I felt the time at the clinic helped me unravel some of the variables that have been blocking my voice progress. The holistic approach taken at this clinic is unique and helpful, as this disorder needs to be confronted via the emotional and spiritual journey as well as the physiological level. Connie's testimony was crucial for me as she is a terrific role model of persevering with composure, faith, grace and confidence - at the same time being honest and real about the struggle.
E.A. (Abductor 9 years):
One of the best things of the clinic is the personal one-on-one. SD is so individual that it needs to be repeatedly assessed and a recovery plan personally tailored for each person. The clinic was the one place where all of us were "normal" and Connie's true understanding of what it felt like was really important to me. It also helped to hear from each other what techniques were helpful. I can now actually see that SD is not always a life sentence, and it certainly isn't the worse thing to happen to me. If Connie could do it, so can I.
Micki (Adductor 6 years):
I have lived with SD for six years. During that time, I have read, researched, tried to speak differently, and tried every trick I heard of. I could not get a handle on the specific mechanical problems and how to correct them. It was like a condition with a hundred variables with no specific tests to tell what helped or hurt. Through speech therapy, I learned easy onset and soft voicing, but this did not fit my personality or profession. The Roger Love study benefited me greatly and my voice improved, but allergies caused me to lose those gains four months later. This clinic is different in that it is a holistic approach to the problem and the healing. Skilled diagnosticians were able to assess my specific mechanical problems with voice and breathing, and also understand and advise on the human factors that would help or hurt my recovery. The 3 ½ days was more like a healing and wholeness retreat for the voice than a clinic. I made significant breakthroughs with voice and breathing and know what to do to recover my voice fully.
Marie (Abductor 5 years):
I had had botox treatments which only minimally improved my voice. Not only that, but the botox injections would have to be continued indefinitely. This program has dramatically improved my voice (75%), but probably most importantly, it has given me the tools and insight to continue to help myself. I know that my SD will eventually resolve completely.