About the Author
Connie Pike, M.A., CCC-SLP, has practiced Speech and Language Pathology since 1981, and is certified by the American Speech and Hearing Association. In late April 2004, after several years of unrelenting stress, Connie developed a throat infection which severely affected her voice. In August 2004, with her voice continuing to deteriorate, she was diagnosed with Spasmodic Dysphonia (SD), described as a rare, incurable neurological condition affecting the voice by causing spasms in the muscles of the larynx. Connie felt she was in a voice prison, as her voice became progressively more stained and strangled. Connie was unable to speak on the phone, work as a speech therapist, or even order her food in a restaurant. The only treatment offered was that of botulinum toxin injections into the spasming muscles, a treatment that was reported to be temporary and inconsistent. Connie's belief in the body's ability to heal itself led her on a journey of voice recovery. Using voice techniques from the masters in science and the arts, Connie found a new groove for her voice. The change was so profound that she was led to share what she had learned with others suffering from this devastating disorder. She described her journey in her initial book, Free to Speak: Overcoming Spasmodic Dysphonia, (c)2005. Since that time, Connie has provided voice rehabilitation to hundreds of SD patients, with good success for significant improvement and improved control over the voice. Free to Speak II includes 36 case studies. A discussion of the holistic voice rehabilitation model and a theoretical discussion of the possible role of neuroplasticity in re-grooving the voice are included. The program is outlined, with suggested areas of treatment and exercises. While Connie does not claim to be "cured" of this disorder, as the perceptual symptoms can wax and wane, she is in control of her voice and refuses to let it control her. She intimately understands the interplay of perceptual symptoms, overcompensations, and the mindbody aspect that makes this disorder so complex to treat. As she works through her own occasional voice challenges, she learns more about the disorder. As a "wounded healer," Connie has a passion for using her experience to make the world of SD a more hopeful place, and to guide those with SD and the professionals who treat them in the utilization of a holistic voice rehabilitation approach.