On September 30th through October 2nd, sixteen graduate students in the School of Communication Sciences and Disorders traveled to Orlando Florida to attend the 2011 Vic Baird Graduate Student Program, sponsored by the Florida Laryngectomy Association. This annual program is designed to provide specific training to graduate students on the implications of laryngectomy.
The program provides a unique opportunity to graduate students in Florida, one that is not offered anywhere else in the country. During the course of the weekend, students learn about all aspects of laryngectomy, from the surgical procedure and follow up medical treatment, to communication and swallowing implications. The most compelling feature of this program is that students receive content not just from professionals, but from individuals who have had a total laryngectomy. There are as many as 50 individuals with laryngectomy who attend the conference. Students receive direct hands on training with an electrolarynx and practice producing esophageal speech, learning from people who use these techniques – not a textbook.
The program also provides an opportunity to conduct research. Two graduate students collected data on lingual pressures, work that was directed by a doctoral student and faculty member from SCSD