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Speech-Language Services

Voice and Resonance

A voice disorder is a condition that occurs when a person has abnormal pitch, loudness, or volume that interferes with his or her daily needs. Voice disorders may be broken down into subcomponents of organic and functional disorders. An organic voice disorder is one that occurs from a physiological change to the respiratory, laryngeal, or vocal tract mechanism.


A person who suffers from an organic voice disorder may experience structural or neurogenic deficits related to his or her voice. An organic voice disorder that is structural may result from physical changes in the vocal mechanism, such as vocal fold nodules or edema, or age-related structural changes to the larynx. An organic voice disorder that is neurogenic may result from problems with the central or peripheral nervous system innervation to the larynx, in turn affecting the function of the voice. This type of disorder may result in vocal tremor, spasmodic dysphonia, or paralysis of the vocal folds.


Persons seeking speech and language services may also suffer from a functional voice disorder. A functional voice disorder is caused by improper and inefficient use of the voice, aside from any physical damage to the structures that produce voice. A functional voice disorder includes vocal fatigue, muscle tension, dysphonia or aphonia, diplohponia, or ventricular phonation.


It’s likely that many voice disorders will overlap, as functional voice disorders can lead to structural changes to the voice. Intervention for voice disorders first begins with assessment to identify and describe impairments in the structure and function of the voice, co-morbid deficits or other health conditions that may be present, environmental and personal factors, and quality of life as it relates to a person’s communication impairment. Once assessment has been conducted, treatment may involve direct and indirect approaches, as well as patient education and counseling to rehabilitate the voice. More specific treatment options may be made available following assessment.

Clinicians at Illinois State University provide assessment and interventions for individuals seeking support for voice-related issues. Each client will receive personalized treatment that most closely aligns with his or her individual goals.  The clinic offers two more specific programming options in the area of voice services:


Gender-Affirming Communication Services

The Eckelmann-Taylor Speech and Hearing Clinic is proud to provide services for individuals who seek to produce communication that is congruent with gender identity.  Speech-language pathologists and graduate student clinicians work with clients to achieve their individual voice and communication goals in a healthy way; services support clients as they modify features of speech production that include resonance, pitch, articulation, intonation, and projection.  Communication elements like vocabulary, postures, and vocalizations may also be addressed.  Services are provided by knowledgable professionals in a safe and supportive manner so that clients find communication patterns that best represent their authentic self. Both individual and group sessions are offered at our clinic to provide clients with efficacious and comprehensive care.


SPEAK OUT ® and SPEAK OUT! Group ®

Illinois State University Speech and Hearing Clinic is pleased to offer a two-part speec h therapy program to help individuals with Parkinson’s regain and maintain effective communication: SPEAK OUT!® followed by the SPEAK OUT! Group ®.  SPEAK OUT!® places emphasis on speaking with intent and converting speech from an automatic function to an intentional act. Together, patients and their speech-language pathologist work through a series of speech, voice, and cognitive exercises outlined in a SPEAK OUT!® Workbook.


Upon completion of SPEAK OUT!®, patients transition to the SPEAK OUT! Group ®. This maintenance program consists of weekly group sessions led by a speech-language pathologist. The SPEAK OUT! Group ® exercises are performed, and group members provide support, encouragement, and accountability to one another. Participation in the SPEAK OUT! Group ®, along with daily home practice and six-month re-evaluations, has been shown to help patients maintain their communication skills throughout the progression of Parkinson’s.  For more information about SPEAK OUT!® and the SPEAK OUT! Group ® visit the Parkinson Voice Project at

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