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Students' Thoughts on Recent AVA Webinar with Dr Jan Baker

Earlier this month we had the pleasure of hosting Dr Jan Baker for our first webinar of the year, "Bio-psychosocial perspectives on the assessment and management of voice disorders: Realigning top-down and bottom-up neuropsychological connectivity for true resolution".

Two Masters of Speech Pathology (MSpPath) students from Griffith University were donated tickets to attend the webinar as part of their ongoing academic development. In return, they provided reviews of the event and their thoughts on Dr Baker's presentation.

We are grateful to Dr Baker for presenting such an interesting topic and look forward to hosting similar discussions in the future.

A recording of the webinar will be made available to AVA members as a second-chance webinar at a later date.


Review from Mienke Breebaart 

I had the pleasure of attending Dr. Jan Baker’s webinar hosted by the AVA last Sunday. Dr. Baker delved into Functional Neurological Voice Disorder (FNVD), offering a highly insightful overview of its relationship with other Functional Neurological Disorders, as well as the pathophysiological and psychophysiological triggers that may contribute to FNVD.

Her extensive experience as a trained vocalist and her work with vocalists proved invaluable, as she provided excellent practical examples for addressing FNVD among vocalists. Dr. Baker's therapeutic approach is not only practical but also beautifully personalized.

Dr. Baker emphasized the importance of Speech Pathologists working with trained vocalists having a minimum of two years of vocal training. Through her responses during the discussion panel, she underscored the need for specialized care tailored to the individual challenges vocalists face.

Furthermore, Dr. Baker highlighted the significant stress and demands vocalists experience in their profession, which can lead to serious consequences and social evaluative threats. She emphasized how the lack of control over their voice can exacerbate FNVD symptoms and contribute to feelings of shame and stigma.

The seminar left me enthusiastic about my future as a speech pathologist, specializing in voice therapy. It also pointed out exciting areas of research to explore in the future.

Mienke Breebaart is a 1st year MSpPath student at Griffith University. She has an interest in stroke rehabilitation and looks forward to pursuing a career in Adult Speech Pathology. 


Review from Joycelyn Zhou

As a first-term Master of Speech Pathology student, this lecture is very informative. In particular, I am so impressed by the impact of acute stress part, I am going to share my understanding from this lecture. Before the lecture I had no idea that people’s voices could be impacted by stress, this lecture provides amazing information on emotion and how stress impacts our control of voice.  The lecture represented how dysregulated voice production can stem from stress and emotional processing issues which are involved in our limbic and motor regions. Also, it identified that the impact of acute stress and performance anxiety is due to various reasons, including psychological experience, physiological responses, and health implications. This information is crucial for us as future speech pathologists because it underscores the importance of addressing both the neurological and psychological aspects of voice disorders. This understanding can also allow us to develop more effective treatment plans that address both the physical and emotional components of vocal disorders. This information is especially important for those of us who will be helping with clients who utilize their voices professionally, such actors, singers, and public speakers. There are some effective approaches that we could employ to assist. When examining vocal issues, use a holistic approach that includes and evaluates both neurological and psychological variables. Also, teach them stress-reduction techniques like deep breathing, mindfulness, and cognitive-behavioral strategies to assist them handle performance anxiety. To provide complete care, psychologists, neurologists, and other healthcare specialists must also collaborate together. The most impressive of the tactics was the concept that, while stress is frequently perceived negatively, it can also lead to "adaptive learning." This idea proposes that experiencing and managing stress might boost resilience and future performance. In our future career, we can use stress management and coping strategies to help clients realize their adaptive potential.

Joycelyn Zhou is a 1st year MSpPath student at Griffith University. She is deeply passionate about dysarthria and aphasia, and is hoping to start her future career in Adult Speech Pathology. 

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