November Spasmodic Dysphonia Treatment Clinic 2015
Susy: Adductor SD, onset 2011, but diagnosed in 2014 after speech therapy failed to provide significant improvement. Mr. Brooks Speech Theripist told her she should have botox injections and that her condition was incurable. She felt her voice worsened significantly afterward. She tried alternative treatments such as Alexander technique and yoga. VHI was 88 (Severe).
Susy stated that her voice improved 85% at the clinic, as her positive mental attitude allowed her to access a better voice for longer periods of time. She gained awareness of how breathing affected her voice and learned breathing techniques to help.
"This week I have met the most inspirational person I will probably ever meet in my life, Connie Pike, along with her team. Dennis and Christine have shown me, through their commitment, dedication and compassion, techniques necessary to be Free to Speak.
Connie and her team have provided me with the necessary tools to rediscover my voice, including voice therapy, positive thinking, relaxation and other skills which I shall take home with me.
The clinic is held in a beautiful, tranquil environment which facilitates relaxation. I shall take this valuable experience with me wherever I go on my journey to rediscover my voice. The course participants helped me along the way with their support and friendship. I recommend anyone who has SD to contact Connie and join one of her clinics - what have you to lose?
Kathy: AD/SD/MTD, with onset of symptoms in 1987 as a result of stress or overuse, following the tragic death of her neice. In the early 2000's, she lost her mother, sister and 5 other relatives and had "laryngitis that wouldn't go away" at a time she also developed back pain and vitiligo in 2008. Her work was stressful and her voice problems made it more so. She retired as a result. Initial diagnosis of voice problems was acid reflux, for which she was medicated. She had Speech therapy with Karen Leary for several months with little improvement. She was referred to Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, where she was diagnosed with SD and started botox treatments. She continued speech therapy while having 12 periodic botox injections which were minimal improvement. Her speech therapist at MEEI referred her to the clinic. VHI was 68 ( Severe).
"I'm not sure how much improvement I gained in my voice, but the self-confidence and admitting the emotional aspect and learning to value myself will make a huge difference. If you are committed and believe there is hope for your voice to improve and will follow through with their advice, I would highly recommend this clinic. I've seen two great SLPs, but the group atmosphere and support are invaluable.
The instructors are very knowledgeable, fun, compassionate, encouraging, and obviously believe in you and what they are doing. It is a welcoming, non-judgemental atmosphere. The holistic approach is fantastic!
Leaving the clinic will be a mixed bag of emotions. I'm glad to be going home but developed new friendships with everyone participating, instructing and guiding. Questions in my mind such as "Will I do as well on my own?" are present, but it is good that the guidance doesn't end once you leave. Connie and Dennis are available to you for 6 months following the clinic and the other participants will be there through email/phone as well.
Matthew: AD/SD or conversion disorder, onset August 2014. He initially had trouble breathing during a stressful period, with hoarseness and a feeling of choking. Initial diagnosis was vocal fold dysfunction/ MTD and possible acid reflux. Speech therapy helped somewhat. He was later evaluated by Dr. Kevin Bach and diagnosed with small granulomas and AD/SD. Botox had a minimal effect. He started counseling/psychotherapy, and after reading Dr. Sarno's books, was convinced he had a psychogenic or psychosomatic disorder. He had stopped voice therapy and continued in psychotherapy, which had not helped his voice. VHI was 99 ( Severe).
Reported significant improvement in his voice with the program, including the ability to sing, use of an easy confidential voice, and daily improvement. Impressed with the staff's knowledge, care and professionalism.
"This class is highly worth the time, expenses and effort. My SD began a year and a half before I attended. My diagnosis shifted to a conversion disorder creating dysphonia. On arriving, I noted my voice sounded a lot like the majority of the group. Whatever the diagnosis, my Voice Hanicap Index was severe. I had been in psychotherapy for 8 months, had Botox for adductor, and speech therapy prior to that. I was hopeful I'd find answers and knowing that Connie had/has SD, yet can speak so effortlessly was a big comfort. As the class progressed, I learned more and more about the whole picture and about midway through, I was able to connect enough dots to begin speaking with less effort in a confidential voice. Singing then became possible, speaking range and volume improved by the end of the week. Perhaps the biggest thing is the tools and skills I will take home with me. I'll need to redo a few areas of life to allow for a calm environment and time in which to practice. Among those skills is the ability to relax and calmly let my voice out. No more desparate forcing and squeezing it out."
Steven: Onset of hoarseness in 2009, diagnosed with SD in 2010, voice therapy yeilded no real improvement. Second opinion at the University of Connecticut Health Center was MTD, reflux and possible puberphonia. Voice therapy again yeilded little improvment. Botox injections in 2012 and 2013 yeilded 3 months of good voice the first time and was less success the second. Hypnotherapy did not help. Alternative modalities tried included energy healing, sound vibration, and Transcendental Meditation. VHI score was 101 (Severe/Profound).
Steve reported 60% improvement after the clinic.
"I went to dozens and dozens of voice therapy sessions with two very reputable speech therapists in my area. Although they showed me and brought me through similar vocal exercises, the results or improvement was minimal at best. What they were missing was the "whole picture" or the holistic approach and the mind-body connection. This five day clinic was worth every minute and dollar spent and truly was a life changing experience.
Those who attended the clinic with me had various stories and various levels of SD, and ALL experienced breakthroughs and improvement over the 5 days. Most importantlyly, we left with the tools and midset to continue to improve our condition when we return home."
Jeffrey: Mixed SD/primarily Abductor; onset in June-July 2014, diagnosed in August 2014. His ENT told him that botox was unlikely to benefit his particular type of SD. He contacted Morton Cooper for phone consultation, but did not find it helpful. He was using a electromagnetic pulsating mat for 3 months that did not help. VHI was 113 (Severe/Profound)
Jeffrey noted some slight improvement in his voice, but felt that he obtained very specific directions regarding what to do and what not to do to help his voice. He found the Tai Chi and Yoga particularly helpful for his breathing and calming.
"Just GO!! You will be given solid hope and the tools to recover your natural voice. Connie and her team are sincere, knowledgeable professionals who have a heartfelt desire to help. Their holistic approach will open your eyes to new possibilities that you likely have not considered before.; a total mind-body system that provides attendees with a reliable roadmap toward recovery. I believe what I have learned will positively impact not just my voice, but my entire life. Connie's practical, common-sense, time-tested methods will give you the best, and quite possibly the only, opportunity to recover your natural speaking voice."