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Specialty Profile: Transgender Voice Therapy

18 Jun

Although I´ve been aware of voice therapy for teachers, musicians and actors or accent reduction therapy for foreigners, I hadn´t given much thought to transgendered people. It´s not due to a fear or ignorance of that population, I´ve just heard more about therapy that was available for foreigners, teachers, etc. After receiving a text bringing up therapy for transgendered people, the gears in my mind started cranking… there´s plenty of people who go through these operations, so why wouldn´t there be therapy for their voices? After all, hearing someone´s voice can be a pretty decent indicator of their gender.

Just a simple search of ¨Transgender voice speech pathology¨(creative, I know) brought up quite a bit of information! There were even some scholarly articles and books listed, albeit most were in Transgender scholarly journals and not written by speech researchers. None the less, the topics seemed interesting! Some of the non-scholarly webpages that were brought up were articles on voice therapy for those that went through the transition, or stories about voice therapy. Some were even speech pathologists´websites stating one of their specialities was teansgender voice femininization-masculinization. There were even fellow transgender people (not certified speech-voice therapists) offering vocal therapy services to teach their techniques.  Even the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) had information on transgender voice therapy! How was I not in the know about this?

From what I read, there´s quite a bit that goes into therapy for these clients. For men that are now female, there is a bigger obstacle of obtaining a feminine voice, as estrogen doesn´t make the voice higher. Female voices also have a higher pitch and rely on intonation rather than volume to stress words in an utterance. These two facts came from the second article below, which has more discrepancies between male and female speech and body langauge. There´s plenty more information in these articles/websites.

A Speech Pathologist who does this work in NY:

Info-Q&A- Further Reading: (Note, the lady interviewed is not a speech therapist)

A Transgendered male-to-female´s website:


Article on Gov´t giving money to GWU for transgender voice research:


Image retrieved from:


Social Media and SLP

23 Mar

It’s already known that we’re in the age of technology and that it has a great role in our society. Instead of steering clear from it, as future Speech-Language Pathologists, we should embrace it. I’ve already Pintrest before… and you should indeed join that website as well! There are so many SLPs and students studying to be one on that site. They pin great websites, activities, ideas, etc for our profession. To go along with this, I’ve compiled a list (not super exhaustive) of groups on Facebook and trends/ people on twitter to check out. These are just places to start, as there are many others, and they will give you an extra resource and network for your career.


– Future SLPs (Speech – Language Pathologists)

-IMAGAS ( Insight, Mentoring, And Guidance for Aspiring SLPs)

-National Student Speech Language Hearing Association (NSSLHA)

– The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

– the group for your state, like Pennsylvania Speech-Language-Hearing Association










What’s Up Wednesday: The SLP’s Role in Bullying

27 Feb

I was perusing through Pintrest earlier, as I do on a regular basis, glancing over new foods and crafts to try, as well as some SLP stuff. That’s when I came across this little ditty, which I think is vital information for a SLP, or anyone working with those who have impediments of any kind. Bullying. Although this brochure mainly pertains to the population of pediatric stuttering patients that are in schools, the general information is relevant to any SLP working with children in a school setting… in fact, I think all SLPs should know this, as medical speech therapy patients, child or adult, will come across some jokes or even bullying, and could use this information. Just knowing that their speech therapist is aware of these non-therapy issues is helpful for patients. (Even teachers and parents need this knowledge about better ways to manage bullying, in my opinion.)

According to Gordon Blood, professionals can use the acronym “STOP IT” to assess, deter and overcome a bullying situation. It goes as follows:

” S- stop the bullying immediately
T-tag and identify the behavior at once
O- offer assistance and social support to the victim
P- present immediate/appropriate consequences for bullying behavior

I- instruct witnesses and bystanders
T- teach students, personnel, parents and friends intervention strategies (Blood, n.d.)”

If we can implement this strategy and hand this poster up in our classes (or entire school), then we are at least taking one step closer to assisting patients who are victims of bullying and teaching others how to act in the situation. We probably can’t erase bullying entirely, but any attempt is better than no attempt!

If you would like more information on stuttering, bullying or stuttering& bullying, then check out the brochure, and the link for The Stuttering Foundation below:

The Stuttering Foundation

Brochure: Bullying & SLPs: Enhancing our Roles as Advocates for Students Who Stutter

Blood, Gordon, PhD. (n.d.) Bullying & SLPs: Enhancing our Roles as Advocates for Students Who Stutter [Brochure]. Memphis, TN: The Stuttering Foundation.

Literacy and Therapy

25 Feb

At first I was a bit apprehensive about taking a class about literacy for my “W’ (Intensive Writing) credits. As with most people, I have my own concept of what literacy is and I just thought we’d be learning about applying literacy to our lives and writing a lot; after all, the class is called “Uses of Literacy.” Maybe we’d just learn how it pertains to reading and writing, I thought… but it’s turned out to be much more than that, which I think is valuable for those who want to be Speech-Language Pathologist or just want to work with children or community projects.


It is known that there’s some amount of literacy building in a SLP’s therapy. Some clients has Dyslexia, some are little children still learning how to put the pieces together, some have trouble recognizing the symbols and connecting them with sounds and words. The list can go on. But have you actually thought about the concept of literacy in a broader, more socio-developmental sense? How does the area where one lives affect their literacy and language capabilities? What about identity and literacy. Your literacy can affect who you identify as, and visa versa. There’s also different domains of literacy, including technology, which has created a whole literacy type of it’s own.


If we can formulate an idea about how our client’s culture and identity affect language skills, then that could help us understand what approach to take for therapy. Maybe the client is more literate in one domain, like computers, but not as competent  in social “literacy.” Or, perhaps the community and culture surrounding this person and that have cultivated this person into his/her being have given way to a literacy that is different than what you are used to but is the “norm” where that person was brought up. This can be dialect, idioms, how they use language/ use it to express their thoughts, social behavior, etc. You have to be sensitive to all of these things in order to find the perfect piece to complete the therapy jigsaw puzzle. If you don’t account for these types of literacies and try to treat each client with similar problems in the same way, it might not always click. You need to customize it to their level and type of literacy.


Maybe you can ask you client some questions, like:

*What are your favorite memories of reading and writing?

*How did you learn to read and write? Did anyone help?

*What are some of your favorite traditions?

*What re some things you like to do in your town/community?

*How do you normally talk to someone (write, talk, sing, …etc)?

*What confuses you about language, reading, writing and speaking?

*When is it difficult for you to understand others, or for them to understand you?


Basically, just ask them anything to do with literacy. This can expand from just reading and writing; in fact, it includes much more than that. Try to think of  definition of literacy… does yours reference to sign langauges/body language or how culture, society and events maybe shape one’s literacy? There’s also literacy “events” (like, remembering when you first learned to read a book, or reading/decoding a street sign, eavsdropping and understanding someone’s conversation… basically anything can be a literacy event). Another thing is literacy sponsors… who or what has helped lay the foundation of your language and literacy skills? It can be people, places (school, library, home, travel), or things (books, websites, magazines, technology) or even abstract stuff like dreams,languages and age (your literacy changes as you age) .


Hope this helps you customize your therapy plans or understand a new way to tackle some speech and languages issues!

SLP Skill Saturday #3:Patience

23 Feb

Patience is not just a necessary skill, it’s actually elevated above many… after all, not many desirable characteristics can say they have proverbs written concerning them. Can’t think of it? Think of the term ‘virtue.’ Still not ringing a bell? Well, there’s a saying that patience is a virtue.’ This holds very true, not only in life, but within the professional world as well.

As with many jobs, especially those working with children or in medicine, patience plays a key role. You need to be able to keep your calm and wait out the rough patches. Maybe the parents of a child are thinking more progress should be made; maybe an adult patient is having a hard time overcoming a pronunciation barrier; or, just maybe the weekend can’t come soon enough. You need to be able to understand and find a way to be patient and cost through these, as well as find ways to overcome them in the best way possible. If not, the saying’s cousin “haste makes waste” might pay you a visit. Perhaps you fill out some forms too quickly because you just want them to be done with, but later you realize that you marked some things incorrectly due to impatience. Now you have to fill them all out again. Sometimes, it is out of your control as well.

Sometimes, patience comes in the form of waiting for progress. This is a major part of the speech-language pathologist’s career. Progress almost certainly never comes instantly. So for those who seek instant gratification from major accomplishments should not seek this career. It takes time to build the concepts and skills for a client to begin to overcome their impediment. Even more time if it is a larger issue to tackle or if it is due to other underlying causes. Let alone, the client may have it “click” while in therapy, but might not actually incorporate the therapy into his/her actual every-day life. This job require lots of patience, as it can take weeks, months or even years to make progress. Don’t let that discourage you though, as there are minor victories along the way to help boost morale and show you it is possible.

One way to see this in perspective is illustrated by what my one teacher continually tells us hopeful Audiologists and Speech-Language Pathologists, which goes something along the lines of: “Your role as a Speech-Language Pathologist is not to cure these people; your job is to help them gain a better quality of life.” So, if you find your patience wearing low, try not to focus on the big picture and attempting to cure your client. You need to focus on helping him/her and finding hope and joy in the smaller triumphs that lead up to major progress. As long as what you are doing is helping them feel better and have a better quality of life, then you are successful. You just need to enjoy the ride at a pace set for them, and not lose patience in our high-paced, goal-oriented world.

Funny Video!

17 Feb

Soooo… the other day we were learning about typical speech and Autism Spectrum Disorder, especially about gaining friendship and positive association with your clients (particularly the younger crowd) to be placed in their “trusted” circle to promote willingness to participate in therapy. It also helps to get their peers involved too. The guest speaker then showed us this video, which I find pretty hilarious. This demonstrates the outside-in approach to therapy, except in a more abstract way, not necessarily therapy related. But the concept is “shown” when you get further in the video. It may possibly be a stretch, but either way, here’s the video. Hope it brightens your day!


15 Feb

If you haven’t heard of this wonderful and creativity-inducing website yet, you should probably get on it! Pintrest is such a great website full ideas, websites and blogs ranging from food to travel to education to weddings… basically you name it, someone has made a “pin” on something related to it! And as an (emerging) SLP, this is an excellent thing to have in your arsenal… but I’ll get to that in a second.

The gist of Pintrest is that it’s a new way to store your “favorites”. But visually. Instead of placing a website into your favorites folder or bookmarking it, you “pin it” to one of your pinboards. You can have pinboards for anything. Like quotes? Have a quote board. Planning a wedding? Have a wedding board. Are you a pastry chef looking for inspiration? Have a board for new pastry ideas. Like I said, you name it, you can pin it. Besides being able to store your findings visually, with a caption, there’s another great thing. You can search for what you want and it’ll load all the pins related to your search. You’ll be surprised at what a variety there is in just your search sometimes! You might search “apple pie”, and get results for normal apple pie, caramel apple pie and crustless apple pie. Crazyyy. Another great thing is that you can FOLLOW others or SPECIFIC pinboards people have. This way you can see when they post something new in general or on that board to find new ideas and add it to yours!

So, what does this have to do with Speech Pathology? Welllll… similar to the boom of SLP bloggers, there’s a burst of SLPs and other therapists, educators, etc on Pintrest as well! Even ASHA and PediaStaff have their own Pintrest.  There’s plenty of information on here for professionals and (under)grad students alike! Many have pinboards for therapy ideas, other blogs, tips and tricks, disorders, organization ideas, disorder information, etc. So, if you want to find a new therapy tactic for, say, phonological disorders, just search it and you should find something! It’s a great way to connect with others as well, as professionals, organizations and businesses are on Pintrest. So I suggest you get on that!

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