I discovered today that my knowledge of how the voice works, which comes from having a degree in vocal performance, and the knowledge of a speech and language pathologist (SLP) overlap nicely. Granted, there are plenty of things related to how people learn to create certain types of sounds and how to fix speech problems that are beyond me. But as far as phonation and articulation go, vocalists and SLP’s have very similar knowledge.
I took our preschooler to a SLP today because he has vocal nodules. I wasn’t at all surprised when he was diagnosed as I’d been telling him since he was about 2.5 that he needed to stop making certain sounds as they were terrible for his voice. He, of course, didn’t listen to me, and now he has nodules. It was interesting talking with the SLP. Once she figured out that I was quite knowledgeable in how the voice worked, we were able to have an interesting conversation about my son’s vocal problems. At one point, she was listening to him talk and pointed out that he phonates when he inhales . . . not really a good thing. I had noticed it before, but hadn’t really thought about it as I’d just gotten accustomed to hearing it. Once she pointed it out, I was hearing it all. the. time. And since returning from the appointment, I’ve been hearing all sort of bad vocal habits.
It will be interesting to see how his therapy goes. The SLP was pretty convinced that I would be able to do all of the work with him myself, but I thought it would be best to have the info coming from someone else so that he would actually take it to heart. I’m looking forward to seeing how else I can use my vocal knowledge to help DS improve the use of his voice!