Dan and Hannah and Spasmodic Dysphonia (Part 4)

Connie Pike runs five-day clinics for sufferers of spasmodic dysphonia (SD) four times a year from her offices in Florida.  Calling this past March, Hannah learns that there is a clinic coming up in May.  With only spaces for six people for this intensive workshop, we learn that there is a place for Hannah.

Connie describes her clinic thusly:

Holistic evaluation of voice includes assessment of voice production as well as breathing patterns, neuromuscular dynamics, psycho-social issues, and overall life-style contributions.  

Intensive individual and group treatment includes voice recovery and breathing techniques, neuromuscular treatment and mind/body explorations aimed at finding a new “groove” for the voice.

It also offers an individualized program for continued and maintained long-term improvement.

SD question

Most people with SD have poor breath support and use a lot of effort to produce voice. Easier voice production patterns result when the nervous system is more relaxed, and right-repetitive voice and breathing can result in permanent changes.  

The clinic includes voice analysis and the development of individualized strategies to improve voice production. Video-taping throughout the clinic is transferred to a DVD that further reinforces the program.

The program begins at noon on Wednesday with introductions and assessments. On Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, sessions are from 9A-6P and include individual and group training.  The clinic notebook contains ample material that can be worked through individually. Sunday is primarily group time and re-assessments. Connie provides three hours of follow-up in person, by phone, or SKYPE during the first six months following the clinic. 

Florida sunshine state

Efficacy studies show that 85% of those attending have significant long-term improvement. We commit to each participant the best of what we have to offer to see that “overcoming SD” is accomplished, and that our holistic program meets that goal. 

Say no more.   We are off to Florida next Tuesday.

Dan and Hannah and Spasmodic Dysphonia (Part 3)

Once Hannah reads Connie’s book, Free to Speak: Overcoming Spasmodic Dysphonia, she feels that she has found a kindred spirit.

Connie quotes Joseph Semple (Voice therapy: Clinical studies, 2000) thusly: Imagine developing a condition so insidious that it may cause loss of self-respect and confidence; a disorder so negative as to cause depression, reclusiveness, and thoughts of suicide; a condition that can ruin careers, marriages, and friendships.  This disorder is spasmodic dysphonia.

Whoa, that is a heavy load!

connie's first book free to speak

My take away from my read of Free to Speak is:

The cause of spasmodic dysphonia (SD) is up for debate as it may be neurological or psychological.  Stress may contribute to SD or lead to the chronic nature of the disease.

Botox is the preferred treatment of the medical community.   The American Speech and Hearing Association takes a “no cure” stance and recommends Botox (every three months for the rest of your life).

Connie believes that knowledge of one’s breathing patterns and learning proper breathing techniques can address the symptoms of SD.   Devoted practice and attention to proper voice mechanics under the framework of a holistic and intensive treatment has led to individual success.

While treatment can take six to twelve months, crucial to success is maintaining a positive attitude.  Connie believes her spasmodic dysphonia is 95% resolved.  She can now yell across a number of rooms in her house.  Wouldn’t Hannah love to do that!

The fact that Connie is a trained speech pathologist who knows SD from the inside out, having the condition herself, has me thinking this woman may be on to something that can help Hannah.

map of florida

Connie Pike offers a five day clinic to set into motion the correct mindset, the proper mechanics, and the holistic picture of the disorder that will propel patients into regaining their voice.

With this news, there is literally more hope in Hannah’s voice than ever before.  Connie’s clinic is near Tampa, Florida.   Perhaps a Jet Blue flight to the Sunshine State is in order?