You are the queen or king of the laminator. Your treatment materials fill the school speech room bookcase and the boards sag from the weight. Among these are likely voice resources, such as the Source for Voice Disorders, to consult when working with students with voice disorders.
Of course, curriculum materials should be the basis for treatment, but here I list some ideas to augment your voice disorders treatment:
- Vocal hygiene. Make sure you’re educating your client on vocal health and hygiene as well as preventing vocal overuse. You can find voice-level posters in many places—like these free versions from Hootin n Hollerin or BreezyD9—or make your own to match the interests of your kiddo. Rachel Nortz at Queen’s Speech created a voice thermometer and a voice journal to help with using the voice in healthy ways and staying hydrated. Voice Meter Pro features cute graphics to motivate students. Activity Tailor offers free water bottle covers to help teach the rationale for hydration in a fun way.
- Flow voice or yawn/sigh. This type of treatment involves increasing airflow to lessen laryngeal tension. Stretch and flow incorporates a tissue for visual feedback. Kittie Verdolini Abbott created Adventures in Voice, which offers specialized training in treating voice disorders. Casper-Stone Confidential Flow voice method incorporates easy onsets and a “flow”-type voice to lessen the collision forces on the vocal folds. Try Voice Therapy Frogs to use this technique in treatment.
- Straw phonation. Researched and developed by Ingo Titze and dispersed via SLPs and voice teachers everywhere, straw phonation involves a semi-occluded vocal tract exercise to help reduce laryngeal tension. Just ask students to vocalize though the straw and make sure nothing comes out the nose. The task becomes instantly kid-friendly when you put the straw in water to make bubbles-in-a-cup. Add glitter or food coloring to the water to amp the appeal.
- Resonance. Humming and using forward resonance in voice treatment can improve vocal quality and lessen strain, like in Lessac-Madsen Resonant Voice Therapy. Work hums into your sessions using the games you devised for articulation kids or try this Lemon Muffins activity for a more specific task.
I hope with some of these recommendations, you find yourself more prepared when you get a child with a voice disorder on your caseload. Vocal overuse is common in children and you can make a difference by making yourself knowledgeable.
Kristie Knickerbocker, MS, CCC-SLP, is a speech-language pathologist and singing voice specialist in Fort Worth, Texas. She provides voice, swallowing and speech-language treatment in her private practice, a tempo Voice Center, and lectures on the singing voice to area choirs and students. She is an affiliate of ASHA Special Interest Group 3, Voice and Voice Disorders, and a member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing and the Pan-American Vocology Association. Knickerbocker blogs on her website at www.atempovoicecenter.com. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram or like her on Facebook. firstname.lastname@example.org