A case description of speech disturbance and treatment following corrective surgery for stress velopharyngeal incompetence

Toby MacRae, Julie Stierwalt, Kensley A. Behel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The purpose of this study was to determine the effectiveness of a motor learning guided (MLG) approach to speech treatment in a unique case of speech disturbance following surgery for stress velopharyngeal incompetence (SVPI). The patient was a 20-year-old female college student. Treatment took place over 6 sessions and focused on eliciting productions through a hierarchy of clinician support, with an emphasis on self-evaluation and-correction. Acoustic measurements and ratings from the treating clinician and unfamiliar listeners revealed a speech disturbance following surgery that was corrected following speech treatment. The patients main difficulty appeared to be in producing the vocalic/postvocalic approximant,/r/, although vowel distortions were also noted. These difficulties may be explained by the structural alteration and formation of scar tissue as a result of surgery. The results provide initial support for an MLG approach to treating an acquired speech disturbance following SVPI surgery; however, additional research is warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)826-839
Number of pages14
JournalClinical Linguistics and Phonetics
Issue number11
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015
Externally publishedYes



  • Acoustic analysis
  • motor-learning-guided approach
  • perceptual ratings
  • speech disorder

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing

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