Treatment for Children With Benign Vocal Lesions As SLPs specializing in pediatric voice, we were happy to see a pediatric voice article, “Strike the Right Cord” (March, 2013). The authors brought up the very important point that pediatric hoarseness needs to be fully evaluated, especially due to the possibility of being caused by something life-threatening. What we ... Inbox
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Treatment for Children With Benign Vocal Lesions
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Inbox   |   May 01, 2013
Treatment for Children With Benign Vocal Lesions
The ASHA Leader, May 2013, Vol. 18, 3. doi:10.1044/leader.IN2.18052013.3
The ASHA Leader, May 2013, Vol. 18, 3. doi:10.1044/leader.IN2.18052013.3
As SLPs specializing in pediatric voice, we were happy to see a pediatric voice article, “Strike the Right Cord” (March, 2013). The authors brought up the very important point that pediatric hoarseness needs to be fully evaluated, especially due to the possibility of being caused by something life-threatening. What we fear was missed in this article, though, was a discussion of direct, behavioral voice therapy for children with nodules in combination with a vocal hygiene program.
We are concerned that this article might lead speech-language pathologists to the conclusion that behavioral voice therapy beyond vocal hygiene is not needed, or even beneficial, for children with benign lesions. The negative impact of impaired voice quality on children’s quality of life has been documented in children as young as 4 years old (Connor et al., 2008). Studies done in children have shown improvements in voice quality and in some cases reduction or elimination of nodules with direct behavioral voice therapy (for example, Lee & Son, 2005; Tezcaner et al., 2009; Trani et al., 2007; Valadez et al., 2012).
While, as the authors point out, we cannot assume that all pediatric hoarseness is due to nodules, we also cannot assume that children with nodules need only vocal hygiene. Children are able to change their manner of voice production, and in order for voice therapy to have long-term meaningful effects, children need to be taught what to do, and not only what not to do.
Maia Braden, MS, CCC-SLP; Sarah Blakeslee, MA, CCC-SLP; Shannon Theis, PhD, CCC-SLP Madison, Wis.
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May 2013
Volume 18, Issue 5