Stephanie Fort, MM, MS CCC-SLP
Stephanie J. Fort, MM, MS CCC-SLP is a speech-language pathologist specializing in care of the voice, and upper airway disorders. For the past 22 years, she has maintained a singing voice studio, and holds a Master’s degree in voice performance and pedagogy from Penn State University. Prior to her work as an SLP, she served as assistant professor of music in voice at a liberal arts college in Georgia for 3 years. In 2012, she received a Master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology from University of Wisconsin-Madison. She completed her clinical fellowship in Philadelphia at the practice of Robert Sataloff, and then went on to work at Massachusetts Eye and Ear in Boston. She currently practices at Baylor Scott & White Voice Center in Dallas, Texas. She has received a certificate of intensive training in motivational interviewing and enjoys working with professional singers and speakers. Stephanie is a member of National Association of Teachers of Singing and serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Voice.
Paper Presentation - Counseling and Expectation-Setting for Singers Undergoing Injection Laryngoplasty
Singers are a special population requiring enhanced counseling and expectation-setting for injection laryngoplasty. This population differs from typical speakers, as subtle changes to their voice, through injection medialization or augmentation, initially result in a new, and sometimes less stable instrument. Because their livelihood is often based on their performance, the eminent question they have is, When will I get back to normal? The role of the speech pathologist includes pre-operative education on diagnoses and expected post-operative outcomes. The clinician must appropriately set the expectation that return to performance singing may require a tincture of time as the patient learns their new instrument. During this period of vocal vulnerability, establishing support and healing is of utmost importance to the patient-clinician relationship. Additionally, post-operative therapy should address any maladaptive changes (e.g. back-focused singing, decreased breath engagement, and overdriving air) in regards to vocal technique, usually resulting from the originating diagnosis. It is the clinician’s role to help these patients recognize technical pitfalls and “tune” their new instrument. Three professional singers – a voice teacher, a professional rock cover singer, and a school music teacher – will be discussed as case studies. All reported notable vocal instability following injection laryngoplasty for mild vocal fold paresis, as well as a contributing factor of vocal fold atrophy in one patient. Through substantial counseling and a supportive therapeutic process, patients experienced increased confidence in their ability to independently manage their voice in performance and other activities of daily living.
Financial Disclosure: Ms. Fort has no financial relationships to disclose.
Non-Financial Disclosure: Ms. Fort has no non-financial relationships to disclose.