Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Speech and Language Services

Our pediatric speech-language pathologists at the Milton J. Dance Jr. Head and Neck Center evaluate and treat children of all ages who have difficulty communicating.


Children who need help with their speech development may be hard to understand. They may have trouble saying sounds and words correctly or may not be speaking at all. At our Center pediatric speech pathologists specialize in helping children with a variety of speech problems including: articulation difficulty, apraxia of speech, phonological processing disorders, stuttering, voice disorders, and speech-resonance issues associated with cleft lip and palate.


Children who need help with language development may struggle with understanding spoken or written information such as directions, questions, and stories (receptive language). They may have trouble using words or symbols to communicate, using correct grammar, or may not speak at all (expressive language). Children with language disorders or delays may also have trouble with social communication (pragmatics) and have trouble interacting with others, making proper eye contact, or staying on topic. Our pediatric speech-language pathologists specialize in helping children who have language difficulty due to these communication barriers.


Monday, April 27, 2015


About 3 or 4 minutes AFTER performing highly aerobic dance (this never happens DURING the performance) I experience a severe tickle in my throat, followed by very frightening stridor. Drinking water irritates that tickle, and even air that I inhale irritates it. The worst part of this episode can last as long as 20 minutes. While I have been told that I am actually getting sufficient oxygen, it feels like I can't inhale. I will probably resign from the dance team because of this, even though I love it. Any hope for preventing these unpleasant episodes?

Melissa Kim, M.S., CCC-SLP writes...

I would suggest evaluation by a laryngologist (an Ear, Nose, and Throat physician who specializes in the larynx) for evaluation of possible Paradoxical Vocal Fold Motion (PVFM). PVFM is a disorder in which the the vocal folds behave normally most of the time, but inappropriately close on inhalation during an episode. The cause of PVFM is not always well understood, but triggers may include allergies, acid reflux, anxiety/ panic disorder, or frequent upper respiratory infections - to name a few. In addition to treatment for any underlying cause, therapy with a speech pathologist is crucial to learn techniques to interrupt the inappropriate vocal fold movement and stop an episode.

Best of luck to you!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Polyps Removed - Unable to Speak

I had polyps removed one week ago and have not been able to speak since. The doctor told me that I CAN talk, but my vocal cords don't know it yet. (Muscle tension dysphonia). I cannot find a voice therapist who can see me in less than six weeks, and I'm only able to make deep, grunting sounds. Are there any vocal exercises I can do until I see the therapist? The only input I got from my ENT is to hum.

Melissa Kim, M.S., CCC-SLP writes...

You can certainly try to produce any vocalization you would like - I wouldn't recommend any specific exercise. I'm sorry that you're not able to see a speech pathologist sooner; perhaps your physician could offer you another referral.

Good luck to you!

Swelling of Vocal Cords

My vocal cords start swelling after I talk for an hour or more unlike other people. Does post-nasal cause swelling of vocal cords? My doctor suggested that I have anti allergic. Does post nasal cause mild changes in voice? This is the only question I wanted to ask.
Thanks :)

Melissa Kim, M.S., CCC-SLP writes...

Yes, it is possible that post-nasal drip may cause swelling of the vocal folds and associated vocal changes.

Best regards

Monday, March 23, 2015

Compassionate, Loving and Concerned Care

Even though I have wonderful and loving memories of the staff of GBMC, not every story, particularly in a hospital, has a happy ending. Mine definitely does not, as my husband died after spending several days and weeks at GBMC over a four-year period. The last was 32 days at GBMC and 7 days in Gilchrist. Read more...

Wednesday, March 4, 2015


I have been diagnosed with presbylarynx, the ENT told me that my cords were weak though they were in fine shape.  He told me to go for voice therapy and told me there is no other option of any other treatment.  I have been having this problem for 2 years.  Will voice therapy help me with the discomfort and vocal fatigue I feel while talking? I am hardly 20 years old and I don't want to have these problems at this stage.

Melissa Kim, M.S., CCC-SLP writes...

Presbylarynx refers to age-related atrophy of the vocal folds in individuals more than approximately 60 years of age, so at 20 years old it would be unlikely that your symptoms are related to presbylarynx. Vocal difficulties secondary to "weak" vocal cords certainly can improve with voice therapy, but if in your situation there is actually poor closure of the vocal folds, injection of a filler such as Radiesse Voice gel can also help to improve the voice.

Best of luck to you!