The International Association of Laryngectomees (IAL) has long recognized the need to provide specialty training for speech pathology professionals (STs) in the area of alaryngeal speech production. In addition, the IAL has identified the needs of many laryngectomees to receive assistance and instruction in developing speech production skills after laryngectomy, and the desire of many well-rehabilitated laryngectomees to serve as volunteers and assist others.
In 1960, the IAL conducted its first Voice Institute, in conjunction with its Annual Meeting, in St. Louis, MO, to fulfill these needs. Since that time, with the exception of 1961, a Voice Institute has been conducted in association with the IAL’s Annual Meeting to serve as a unique training program in alaryngeal speech restoration methodology and related topics.
Laryngectomized individuals who have acquired excellent speech rehabilitation and who wish to become a resource for their peers are eligible to attend as Laryngectomee Trainees (LTs), as the program provides an accurate source of information and training.
Laryngectomees who seek to develop or enhance their speech communication skills attend the program as Voice Institute Pupils (VIPs), and receive personalized instruction in use of the artificial larynx, esophageal speech or tracheoesophageal voice restoration under the direction of certified speech-language pathology faculty and staff.
The Annual Meetings and Voice Institute rotate to different sites throughout North America each year. Recent meetings have been held in Vancouver, BC, Canada; Atlanta, GA, Anaheim, CA, Boston, MA, and in the greater Chicago, IL, area.
The Voice Institute has distinguished itself as the premiere training opportunity for comprehensive instruction in all methods of alaryngeal speech restoration. This is an intensive four-day course which emphasizes speech restoration as the central component to multidisciplinary total rehabilitation of the laryngectomized individual. Through lectures, video demonstrations, observations, hands-on activities and supervised patient interactions, participants are provided with opportunities to develop clinical knowledge and skills in all methods of alaryngeal speech restoration.
Instruction in tracheoesophageal speech methodology is designed to meet the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) competency guidelines for practice in this specialty area.
Upon completion of the four-day course, ST and LT trainees may choose to complete the comprehensive examination, one of the requirements for registration in the IAL Directory of Instructors of Alaryngeal Speech.
The faculty includes acclaimed alaryngeal speech experts who are dedicated to providing a comprehensive learning experience.
Each year the best available cadre is recruited for the Voice Institute faculty. Notable recent faculty members have included:
Mark I. Singer, M.D., and Eric Blom, Ph.D. (co-developers of the tracheoesophageal puncture method of voice restoration, James Shanks, Ph.D., Shirley Salmon, Ph.D., Jeff Searl, Ph.D., Jan Lewin, Ph.D., Frans Hilgers, M.D., Philip Doyle, Ph.D., and Daniel Deschler, M.D.
A limited number of scholarships are available for laryngectomees who require financial assistance to attend the Voice Institute – thanks to the generosity of Mr. Frank Batten, former chairman of Landmark Communications, Inc., and in conjunction with the WebWhispers Nu-Voice Club . Click here to view and print out a Batten scholarship application: Applications for WebWhispers assistance can be found at www.webwhispers.org In some years, scholarships are also available for speech-language pathologists who require financial assistance to attend the Voice Institute.