The Barkley Speech Language and Hearing Clinic strives to provide a positive and comfortable experience for individuals who seek personalized communication-related services to align their gender expression with their identities. In collaboration with a speech-language pathologist, individuals will identify, set and work toward goals they have for their voice and communication features.
Who are candidates?
- Individuals who identify as: transgender, gender fluid, gender diverse, gender nonbinary, or other gender identities.
- Individuals seeking to adapt or modify aspects of their communication (voice, nonverbal aspects, linguistic features) so their self-expression more fully aligns with their gender identity.
- Individuals able to commit to a treatment schedule with corresponding home programming to ensure that communication shifts are safe and healthy, and that the techniques practiced in therapy are effective outside of the clinic.
Individuals interested in receiving gender diverse communication services will receive a comprehensive evaluation prior to beginning therapy. This evaluation offers insight about their voice and other communication features, the individual's perceptions and feelings about their communication, and any discrepancies between their current status and how they wish to present themselves at home, work and in other social situations.
Following the evaluation, the individual will collaborate with a speech-language pathologist to set goals for learning, addressing, and safely modifying aspects of their communication to fit the individual's desired gender expression. Communication aspects addressed may include:
- Vocal health and hygiene
- Vocal pitch modifications
- Resonance modifications
- Inflection and intonation
- Volume and projection
- Nonverbal communication
For detailed information on the aspects of communication that may be addressed please visit this webpage from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.
The speech-language pathologist will provide a home program consisting of activities for the individual to do outside of the Barkley Speech Language and Hearing Clinic to ensure they are protecting their vocal health and using their communication techniques in the social contexts they are comfortable with.
Evidence & Benefits
Current research supports modifying communication style through specialized services from a speech-language pathologist, as this preserves and protects the individual's vocal health while working toward personal goals (American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, n.d.). In addition, speech-language pathology provides therapy that integrates multiple aspects of voice and communication features to create a sustainable and authentic communication style for the individual (Davies, Papp, & Antoni, 2015).
Adler, R. K., Hirsch, S., & Pickering, J. (2019). Voice and communication therapy for the transgender/gender diverse client: a comprehensive clinical guide. San Diego, CA: Plural Publishing Inc.
American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.asha.org/PRPSpecificTopic.aspx?folderid=8589944119§ion=Key_Issues.
Davies, S., Papp, V. G., & Antoni, C. (2015). Voice and communication change for gender nonconforming individuals: giving voice to the person inside. International Journal of Transgenderism, 16 (3), 117-159.
Mills, M., & Stoneham, G. (2017). The voice book for trans and non-binary people a practical guide to creating and sustaining authentic voice and communication. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.
Voice and Communication Change for Transgender People. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.asha.org/public/speech/disorders/Voice-and-Communication-Change-for-Transgender-People/.