October 2013 Spasmodic Dysphonia Treatment Clinic
Cathie: AD/SD since 1997, difficult to get diagnosis and treatment as she was living as a missionary with her family in Haiti. Received some speech therapy and botox with limited success. Found that after being fitted with hearing aides, she could speak without as much strain so she had done that since 2008 although her hearing loss was very mild.
Cathie learned that she could speak without her hearing aids, and learned to breathe properly and start to sing again. She reported that her voice improved 40%. She appreciated the multidisciplinary approach.
“The clinic was very worthwhile. It provided the instruction, tools and encouragement to already bring noticeable improvement (in 5 days) and to also continue on the road to full voice recovery. For most of us, it is not a quick fix, but the clinic equips us to meet the challenges of SD head on. I do not see SD as a forever problem, but as something that can be overcome in time.
I appreciated the holistic approach to bring us to better health all the way around so that we can not only be “free to speak” but more well-rounded healthy, happy, relaxed individuals.
The clinic exceeded my expectations. I know of no other SD voice rehabilitation clinic like it. Connie’s first hand experience with SD and knowledge as a Speech Pathologist combined with her empathy from being “one of us” is invaluable. The clinic team work together well, providing their experience and skills in a pleasant environment to begin recovery. It was great being with others with SD and there was a good balance of individual and group sessions. Though it may seem like a lot of money, it is well worth it and I would recommend it to anyone with SD.
Kenton: AD/SD 18 years, and regular botox injections for the past three years, last one in March of this year. They were becoming ineffective.
Kent felt that he acquired skills in breathing, voice pitch, resonance and a better understanding of where his voice should be.
“Attending the clinic was an essential step in my learning both to improve my voice and understand my SD. The skills and knowledge that I learned are practical, yet challenging. I am leaving knowing that continued improvement in my voice will happen. The clinic brings together the best of the best in instruction by extremely qualified teachers with years of experience in helping those with SD. You cannot find this help anywhere else. I strongly encourage anyone with SD to make this clinic a priority in their life.”
KS: AD/SD two years, diagnosed in January 2013 and had several speech therapy sessions. Botox was recommended but she declined.
KS reported that her voice became better as she learned to relax and use better breathing techniques.
“The clinic has been very helpful in pinpointing problem areas with my voice. I learned that I need to relax more to aid in recovering my voice. I was given helpful techniques for relaxation. The breathing techniques were also helpful. I received a lot of materials that will take time to incorporate into my life. I need to practice to recover my voice, but the clinic was very helpful in giving me hope to do this and I would highly recommend this clinic.”
Nestor: Came from Bogota, Columbia with a diagnosis of SD since age 10. Other symptoms were apparent with the possibility of a generalized dystonia; hand, jaw, tongue, lips, palate with significant impact in intelligibility. Presently 27 years old with a history of speech therapy, botox treatments, psychiatric therapy and some homeopathic medications.
Nestor learned that his pitch was very high and that he needed to bring it down. He felt that his voice was 50% better when he was able to do as instructed. He used a great deal of effort to speak and force his voice out and he learned to relax this effort. He learned more relaxed and deeper breathing.
“I learned how to improve my voice using the exercises of breathing, relaxation, neurolinguistic programming and speech therapy exercises. I learned how my mouth affects my condition and that I need to improve my articulation.”