To celebrate Pride Month in June, a Utah State Today series is highlighting university employees and students who are conducting research, academic pursuits and other projects related to or that benefit the LGBTQIA+ community.
Clinical Assistant Professor, Speech-Language Pathologist in the Department of Communicative Disorders and Deaf Education
- Field of study: speech-language pathology
Why is this work important?
“I believe it is important for every single person to have access to the necessary and appropriate healthcare services needed to feel like themselves in their own bodies. For transgender persons, this likely includes speech-language pathology services toaddress their voice concerns related to pitch, voice quality, rate, and volume, as well as nonverbal aspects of communication.”
Summary of work:
Those who are transgender often want change the way they speak. Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) can help change the way people sound and talk with voice and communication therapy. Debbie Amundson, with the Speech and Language Clinic at the Sorenson Center in the Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Services, provides this life-changing service.
For those who want to change the way they sound and speak so their voice more closely matches their gender expression, surgery and hormone treatment may change how a voice sounds. Alternatively or additionally, many people can choose to have voice and communication therapy with an SLP. Goals for this treatment include working on not only the voice, but also nonverbal communication. SLPs listen to vocal pitch, or how high or deep a voice sounds and will also listen to the words used and observe nonverbal communication. Trying to change a voice on one’s own can be harmful; some people may even lose their voice. SLPs can help teach safe ways to speak. The Speech and Language Clinic at USU offers a sliding fee scale, which can provide fee reductions based on income, family size, etc.
Some aspects of therapy offered in the clinic include:
- Pitch: how high or low a voice sounds
- Resonance: the quality of the sound of a voice
- Intonation: the rhythm of speech
- Rate: how fast or slowly one speaks
- Volume: how loudly one speaks
- Nonverbal sounds: coughing laughing, etc.
Learn more about the USU Speech-Language Clinic.
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