Voice program at Dell Children’s Medical Center
Your child’s voice is an important part of how they communicate and interact with the world around them. Voice disorders, especially in young children, can affect speech and language development, learning, emotional development, and social development. At Dell Children's Medical Center, our specialized care team has the expertise to diagnose, treat and manage the care of children who have voice disorders.
We take a multidisciplinary approach to care. That means your child will benefit from the expertise of multiple pediatric specialists, including pediatric otolaryngologists (ear, nose and throat doctors) and speech pathologists (speech therapists). Your child can meet with multiple specialists in the same visit – allowing for complete evaluation and treatment.
What to expect at your child's first appointment
At your child’s first visit, we listen to your concerns and discuss your child’s health history. Then your child will have a full ear, nose, and throat examination. Your child’s doctor may also recommend diagnostic tests, such as a nasolaryngoscopy and videostroboscopy to evaluate their vocal cords. These tests allow your child's care team to see the vocal cords in real time on a screen and, at the same time, listen to your child’s voice. A complete voice evaluation is also performed by a speech therapist. Once the evaluation has been completed, your child’s doctor explains your child’s diagnosis. Then, we work with you to create a care plan with the goal of helping to improve your child’s voice and communication.
Advanced care for children with voice disorders
Your child’s doctor and care team work together to deliver comprehensive care and management of voice disorders. Symptoms of a voice disorder include having a hoarse, rough, raspy, breathy, or weak voice. Many care plans include surgery on the voice box, voice therapy, or a combination of both. For many children with voice disorders, voice therapy is often the first step before surgery, and after surgery it can help your child use their voice. It can help your child learn to use their voice in a way that sounds and feels good to them.
Our care team diagnoses and treats many common voice disorder and conditions, including:
- Vocal cord lesions, such as vocal nodules, polyps and cysts
- Vocal cord immobility or paralysis
- Suspected vocal cord dysfunction
- Paradoxical vocal fold motion disorder
- Chronic cough
- Laryngopharyngeal reflux
- Vocal or voice strain in singers
- Functional dysphonia
What is voice therapy?
Pediatric voice therapy uses behavioral treatment methods to help improve your child’s voice. During your child’s first session, a speech therapist who specializes in voice disorders will evaluate your child’s voice. Depending on this initial evaluation, voice therapy may be recommended to improve your child’s voice. Therapy sessions are typically once a week for six to 10 weeks. Your child's care team will create a personalized treatment plan that is specifically designed for your child, with engaging and motivating activities.