​  Presentation: Voice Therapy for the Neurodivergent Performer

  Neurodivergent individuals are well represented in the arts, including performing voice, due in part to their creativity and non-traditional   perspectives. Many neurodivergent performing voice users (ND-PVUs) could benefit from voice therapy, but standard practices may present   obstacles. Voice therapy demands a spectrum of skills that may be challenging for ND-PVUs, including sensory awareness, introspection,   auditory processing, and emotional vulnerability. Though support for neurodiversity affirming care is increasing, there is a lack of literature on   neurodivergent experiences in voice therapy and limited guidance on the application of neurodiversity affirming practices within voice   therapy. This presentation will discuss the existing literature, outline a future qualitative study to help address existing gaps, and provide   practical adaptations for voice clinicians working with neurodivergent populations. Discussion of the planned qualitative study will include   pilot interview questions and selected participant responses. Finally, I will draw from my clinical experience, collaborative efforts with   neurodiversity-specialized clinicians, and existing neurodiversity affirming frameworks to discuss successful adaptations for ND-PVUs in voice   therapy and the benefits they may provide. Learning Outcomes: After completing this activity, participants will be able to:… 1. Describe current   neurodiversity affirming practices outlined in existing literature. 2. Discuss unique challenges for neurodiverse patients in voice therapy. 3.   Identify adaptations which may be applied to therapeutic intervention in order to support the success of neurodivergent patients in voice therapy

Financial Disclosure: Ms. Schenk has no financial relationships to disclose. 

Non-Financial Disclosure:
 Ms. Schenk has no non-financial relationships to disclose.

Alex Schenk, MS, CCC-SLP

Alex Schenck, MS, CCC-SLP, is a clinical speech-language pathologist in the Department of Otolaryngology–Head & Neck Surgery at UI Health in Chicago, IL. Alex specializes in evaluation and treatment of voice and upper airway disorders, dysphagia in the head and neck cancer population, and alaryngeal voice for laryngectomies. As a performer herself, she has a special interest in caring for the professional voice and singing voice.

Alex graduated with her Master’s in Speech-Language Pathology at Northwestern University and completed her clinical fellowship in the Department of Otolaryngology at the University of Washington Medical Center. She is a former member of the adult voice team at University of Wisconsin Health Voice and Swallow Clinics.

Prior to becoming a speech-language pathologist, Alex worked professionally as an opera singer, which informs her approach to therapy. She received her Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance at the Bob Cole Conservatory of Music and her Artist Diploma in Operatic Performance at the Academy of Vocal Arts. She has performed at opera companies and music festivals across the country and internationally.