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May 2007 Spasmodic Dysphonia Treatment Clinic
The May clinic was another unique experience, as each clinic has been. It is always exciting to see the variety of personalities and hear the journeys of each as we make our way through the maze of the various manifestations of SD/MTD and see the improved voices emerging. The participant testimonials speak well of the experience:
Jill – Adductor SD 18 months (2 botox injections)
Jill had heard Connie speak at the Tampa SD Support Group along with her physician husband, and decided she should try this approach instead of continuing with botox. She reported that she had been practicing exercises in the book, Free to Speak: Overcoming Spasmodic Dysphonia , several hours per day in the months prior to the clinic and had experienced significant improvements.
"The group dynamics provided the benefit of fun interaction, support, and camaraderie that were invaluable. The common denominator was our voice dysfunction and only that. There is an enormous enrichment one gains in many other aspects of our human condition. There is a positive approach and certainty given to us by our teachers and fellow participants that we will improve and heal. My voice improved 70-100% throughout the clinic. Perhaps miracles do happen and I’ve had my last botox injection."
Robin – Adductor SD 1 ½ years
"Through this clinic, I discovered a viable route to recovery. I’m not there yet, I would have liked more time, but the way forward is clear. The first component of this involved assessment. Something was terribly wrong, what was it? Once that became clearer, the means to correct the problem became much clearer as well. Now comes the practice and right repetition..
"I am very motivated to achieve my goal – my old voice – and to do what I need to maintain it. Part of this will require vigilance to make sure the old habits don’t creep back in and the other part is to be aware of old habits and address them as they do occur. I can’t wait to get my groove. Voice improved 35% at the clinic."
Laura – Mixed SD 6 years
As a Christian Science practitioner, Laura faced the challenge of allowing herself to be here to receive the voice and breathing training we offered. She gained the following insights at the clinic:
"It is ok to be here and I deserve to be able to do this. Good is available in many different forms, under many different names, but it is all the same Mind at work. Using a variety of activities and developing skills – physical and spiritual – is a many pronged approach – a more effective way to achieve the goal.
"I learned practical ideas to take and use, sympathetic support, a family atmosphere among participants and beautiful and relaxing off-campus accommodations. I would have liked more time just because it was warm and fuzzy and I made daily progress. I know that with what I have I can continue to make progress."
Donna – Abductor SD 7 years; s/p bilateral silastic thyroplasty 3 ½ years ago, vocal tremor
"I learned that emotions play a big part in the quality of my voice and that I CAN practice breathing and voice techniques that make my voice better. A positive attitude is paramount. I can learn to be mindful of giving my best voice each time I speak.
"I would encourage any person with SD to attend this clinic. It was extremely worthwhile in improving the quality of my voice and perhaps more importantly, in changing my attitude so that I’m realizing I can improve my voice through practicing the skills I learned at the clinic. I am very optimistic about re-gaining my normal voice, and even improving that. Voice improved 50%."
Bob – Adductor SD 2 years
Bob had read Connie’s book and taken it to his local speech therapist. They had been working through the exercises together and he had experienced some significant improvements, yet felt that the clinic might yield more rapid progress and a more comprehensive program. He was a good encourager to the more severe cases by telling them that his voice sounded just as bad before he started his voice therapy.
"The whole experience was great. The group setting to me was the best way to understand and work out the problems. Working in a group with similar conditions helps put one at ease and promotes the healing process. Connie and Mike are great to work with and fun. They keep the mood light, which is very important. They are a wealth of information, new ideas and help. The breathing development is so important and the biggest help in my recovery. They good voice was in there. I just had to bring it out. Voice improved 90%."