December 3, 2018
Teachers and teachers-in-training can thank Elizabeth Grillo and WCU graduate students studying speech-language pathology for saving their voices.
“Half of all teachers across the country will develop a voice problem at some point in their careers,” Grillo notes. “Our work is addressing prevention of future problems because we are training student teachers in their educational programs before they become professional teachers and before voice problems occur.”
For the past three years, Grillo, speech-language pathologist and professor in Communication Sciences and Disorders in WCU’s College of Health Sciences, has been supervising graduate students in her department as they help student teachers learn how to use their voices for their profession. To date, 20 graduate students have provided vocal training plus vocal education and vocal hygiene training to more than 60 student teachers from WCU’s College of Education and Social Work as well as the physical education and music education departments. Methods have included traditional, in-person services and services through telepractice such as online videoconferencing.
The research uses VoiceEvalU8, a mobile tele or “evoice” evaluation tool Grillo developed that clinicians and their clients can use anytime and anywhere. VoiceEvalU8 is a smartphone/tablet application (app), a web portal, and a server. It is the first to record acoustic, perceptual, and aerodynamic voice data across multiple days in the morning before talking all day and in the evening after talking all day, analyze the data, and present the results to the clinician or researcher.
Grillo’s work is supported by a National Institutes of Health (NIH) R15 grant from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (2015-2019).
For her work, Grillo was honored with the 2018 Certificate of Recognition for Special Contributions in Higher Education from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.