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July 2012 Spasmodic Dysphonia Treatment Clinic
Christie: AD/SD diagnosed in February 2012: speech therapy, acupuncture. Reported 60-70% improvement in her voice at the clinic, learning not to strain and push the voice out.
This clinic was an amazing experience all around. Before attending the clinic, I was told that Botox was the only route and that I would not get better with therapy. I began to lose hope that it could improve. But Connie’s clinic provided me with a renewed sense of hope and most importantly, a significantly improved voice. With the techniques and training that Connie provided and the breathing techniques and tension release techniques from Dennis, I can say with confidence that I am on a path to recovering my voice completely.
The group dynamic of this clinic was so valuable. The encouragement, support, and inspiration from the co-participants in the clinic was priceless, not to mention the bonds made with others going through the same emotional struggles of the disorder.
I fell that I now have the tools and jump start to get my voice fully back. This clinic was the first time that I had heard my normal voice in awhile, and the first time I felt freer to speak. I couldn’t recommend this clinic more highly to someone struggling to get their voice back. Botox is not the only option and this clinic, and Connie herself, proves it.
Mike: Mixed SD with tremor and atrophy diagnosed in 2007: Prilosec, speech therapy for 1.5 years. Reported 60-70% improvement in his voice, with more resonance, consistency, fewer breaks, and less tremor. Breathing became more automatic, less in the chest, and inhibition of gasping.
If you have unanswered questions about SD, or have been told that it only gets worse, is incurable, that botox is the only treatment, or that speech therapy won’t help you – you owe it to yourself to explore the alternatives. At the very least, you owe it to yourself to have 5 days of exploring your condition in a relaxing, positive, non-judgmental place with other people with similar issues.
With Connie, you’ll explore methods of better vocal production, how to increase resonance, reduce breathiness and breaks and use your appropriate pitch. You will also explore the mental, psychological and emotional aspects of dealing with SD day to day. Because Connie has struggled with and overcome SD herself, her insights, empathy, and experience can’t be found elsewhere. Because she is a world-class SLP, she provides individualized, specific, tools and exercises tailored to each person.
With Dennis, you’ll explore better, easier ways to breathe, which is the foundation of vocal production. He also addresses any biomechanical problems and patterns of negative or unhelpful thoughts and feelings. He also provides concrete, specific exercises that will continue to help after the clinic.
Christine provides nutritious meals and snacks, yoga instruction, as well as Swedish deep-tissue massage. What makes Christine special is her understanding of the unique needs of SD patients and the need to release tension, especially in the head, neck and shoulders.
All three work closely together to address the specific needs of each client. Possibly, the most valuable aspect of the clinic is to meet other SD sufferers, share experiences and history, and to share successes and serve as inspiration and encouragement for one another.
JT: AB/SD, symptoms began in January 2011 following a cold and laryngitis, initial diagnosis of unilateral paresis and gel injection to medialize the vocal fold, 2 botox injections, Artane. Reported 60% improvement in voice and a good understanding of what was needed to continue improvement.
Anyone who has been diagnosed with SD needs to be informed that there is a holistic program that provides an individual with tools to recover from it as well as how to deal with SD during the recovery process. Now that I have attended the clinic, I feel hopeful and have a treatment plan to follow that puts me on the road to recovery.
I understand about the complexity of SD’s affect on the body, mind, and spirit. The kind and caring approach to treatment is evident every day of the clinic. I now am empowered to move forward. Each one of the teachers help you to develop the skills to manage, understand, and begin recovery from SD.
Connie, Dennis, Christine and Robbie are such a wonderful team. I am so thankful to them for all they do, which sets me off on a stable road to recovery. There is so much information that is provided, and tools that will guide you to know how to deal with SD as you recover. I would attend a clinic again, and recommend that anyone who wants to understand SD and how to recover your voice consider this wonderful option. From my perspective, it was worth the financial commitment to attend. The benefit the clinic offers is priceless!
Rey: AD/SD diagnosed in 1998, Botox injections every 3 months, Tagamet. Reported 80% improvement in voice production, learning to project a lower pitch and resonate into the face. Improved breathing mechanics.
Before I arrived, I had faith that I would learn the necessary skills, but did not expect to reach any immediate improvements. By the second day, I began to show remarkable improvement as Connie began to identify the weak areas of my voice and prescribe my specific pitch, relaxation, and breathing patterns that needed change. Dennis helped with the breathing component and corrected wrong mechanics. Connie, with the use of computer software applications and her expertise, helped me to maintain focus on the correct resonance and pitch that supported the best voice quality.
The financial investment and time for the clinic has proven to be valuable, and a launching pad for my voice improvement journey. Prayers be to God who has used Connie and her team to provide an alternative to Botox. May God continue to bless her as she blesses others with her gift.
John: AB/SD diagnosed in 2009 after a year of symptoms, was using whispering frequently to communicate, Botox was recommended but he declined. No prior therapy or treatment. Reported 30% improvement in voice as he learned to stop whispering and was able to produce audible voice at times.
This was a most caring and knowledgeable staff. This was the first time that I agreed and believed in everything that was presented (about my SD).
You would not be disappointed in this clinic. Words cannot express how much better I feel about myself as a person and in my ability to find my voice. I have no doubts that with the tools I have been given, the encouragement of the team and other participants, that I will be, truly, Free to Speak.