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Dr. Verdolini Abbott

Katherine Verdolini Abbott, PhD., CCC-SLP, M.Div., is Professor of Communication Sciences and Disorders at the University of Delaware. Prior academic appointments of Dr. Verdolini Abbott include the University of Iowa, Harvard Medical School, and the University of Pittsburgh. She received training in the Lessac approach to body, voice, and speech, working personally with the approach’s founder, Arthur Lessac. She developed Lessac-Madsen Resonant Voice Therapy (LMRVT), which is widely recognized as an important tool in voice therapy for a range of conditions affecting voice, and for which she has received funding for basic and applied science from the National Institutes of Health since 1997. Dr. Verdolini Abbott is a Fellow of the American Speech-Language-

Hearing Association, from which she also received the highest Honors in 2009. She is, herself, a singer and actor, committed to the translation of both basic science and performing arts traditions to the practice of speech-language pathology.


Financial: Dr. Verdolini Abbott is a salaried Professor at the University of Delaware. She also receives salary support from the National Institutes of Health for her research. She receives royalties for publications with Plural Publishing Company and the National Center for Voice and Speech. Rarely, she receives compensation for reviews of others’ scholarly work. She is given an honorarium for the presentation of her continuing education courses, including this one.

Non-financial: Dr. Verdolini Abbott serves as reviewer, editor, and associate editor for several publication entities. Dr. Verdolini Abbott is on the editorial board for several professional journals and has published numerous scholarly articles relevant to the course content.


More about VTS & AIV

Increasing emphasis has been placed on the use of standardized voice therapies for the treatment of voice problems. This approach has lent itself well to evidence-based investigations of voice therapy and a standardization of clinical training. The Voice Therapy Spectrum course is part of this endeavor, but not only this endeavor. The basic premise in the "Spectrum" approach to voice therapy is that a single theoretical framework for therapy can be applied in different ways, for different patients. The framework identifies three broad parameters to address in voice therapy and training: the "what" of training (what is the biomechanical target and what are biological consequences); the "how" of training (how do people acquire and habituate new physical behaviors); and the "if" of training (what are factors affecting patient and student engagement with therapy).


On Day 1 of the workshop, Basic Science Foundations for the foregoing issues will be reviewed.


On Day 2: It’s about Voice Therapy Spectrum (VTS). The primary applications of the foregoing basic science principles will be described and trained in Lessac-Madsen Resonant Voice Therapy (LMRVT). A secondary application will be Casper-Stone Confidential Flow Therapy (CSCFT). The two methods differ in the specific biomechanical target of training; LMRVT targets relatively more complete vocal fold closure and the use of a semi-occluded vocal tract during phonation as compared to CSCFT, which targets slightly greater abduction without semi-occluded tract. Both of these biomechanical targets fall within the range of what has been identified as “optimal vocal economy,” which favors both good acoustic output and relatively minimal vocal fold Impact stress and thus putative protection from injury. Both methods utilize the same principles of motor learning and patient engagement. The choice of one approach over the other will depend on clinician and patient preference, and patient pathology. Outcome data will be presented for LMRVT and CSCFT, based on results of large-scale clinical trials. Day 2 of the workshop will conclude with exposure to methods for creating individualized voice therapy for patients.


On Day 3: Adventures in Voice (AIV) is a novel approach to pediatric voice therapy, which, in contrast to the traditional approach, does not discourage children from using loud voice. AIV is founded on the premise that "children will be children" and, rather than restricting their phonation, they should benefit from training in how to produce normal and loud voice safely. The biomechanical underpinnings of the program arise from basic science studies showing a barely ad/abducted vocal fold configuration should allow people to produce voice fairly loudly while at the same time minimizing inter-vocal fold impact stress, which is implicated as the primary source of phonotrauma. Also, AIV differs from some traditional learning models in speech-language pathology, which emphasize instrumental conditioning and extrinsic rewards. Instead, AIV's learning approach is based on theory that says that fun activities, in which "rewards" are intrinsic, should optimize learning in the long term. Finally, AIV also incorporates findings from the healthcare literature pointing to factors that may enhance children's engagement in voice therapy. The AIV program may be appropriate for children with voice problems related to under- or overadduction of the vocal folds, which are implicated in the majority of voice disorders in children.

Upcoming workshops: 

3-day workshop on Voice Therapy Spectrum (VTS) & Adventures in Voice (AIV) 

  • May 14-16, 2024 (Tue to Thu) 

1-day workshop on Advanced techniques in LMRVT: Lessac Body NRG 

  • May 17, 2024 (Fri)

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