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What we do
When your child has trouble with their voice or swallowing, UW Health Kids experts can help. Our specialists carefully evaluate your child’s condition. It’s important to understand what’s causing the problem.
Issues with a child’s voice or swallowing can impact breathing, feeding and speaking. We provide advanced treatments, therapies and surgery to improve your child’s voice, communication and ability to swallow.
Meet our team
An expert team by your side
The UW Health Kids voice and swallow team includes experts in voice and swallowing disorders, airway conditions, speech, language and resonance therapy, and ear, nose and throat.
Conditions and treatments
Evaluating and treating voice and swallowing disorders
When you trust UW Health Kids for your child’s voice or swallowing disorder, you get comprehensive care. We evaluate your child to make the right diagnosis and find the best treatment.
Your child's care team talks with you about the history of your child’s symptoms. We want to know about any lifestyle, medical, occupational or surgical factors that may be related to the voice or swallowing problem.
Tests that our specialists might perform on your child include:
Acoustic analysis of voice
Aerodynamic analysis of voice
Physical exam to check the tension in muscles used to produce voice
Flexible endoscopic evaluation of swallowing (FEES)
Videofluoroscopic Swallow Study (VFSS)
Clinical feeding and/or swallowing evaluation
The two most common evaluations performed in our clinics are:
Videolaryngostroboscopy, where our specialists look at your child’s vocal folds using a camera and light source.
Videofluoroscopic Swallow Study (VFSS), where our specialists check your child’s esophagus and airway for swallowing issues by taking X-rays of your child’s body as they swallow various kinds of foods and drinks.
Causes for voice and swallow conditions might include:
Presence of vocal fold lesions (e.g. nodules, cysts, polyps)
Neurological disease (SMA, CP, muscular dystrophy, hypotonia, hypertonia)
Vocal fold paralysis
Surgery to the neck or throat
Conditions we treat
We provide care and therapy for children with a wide range of voice and swallowing conditions. Common voice and airway conditions we treat include:
Scratchy weak or breathy voice
Difficulty with loudness
Voice fatigue (worsening voice quality or discomfort with voice use)
Increased effort to talk
Change in singing voice
Pain or discomfort when speaking or singing
Changes in voice after trauma or surgery to neck, throat or larynx
Articulation issues related to cleft lip, cleft palate, or other craniofacial anomalies
Pediatric vocal cord dysfunction
We work closely with you and your child to improve your child’s voice and swallowing ability. We use treatments that fit your child’s age and developmental stage. Treatments include:
Programs and research
More ways we can help
Performing voice program
We work with children who perform using their voice. We provide care from singing voice specialists to keep the vocal folds healthy.
Advancing voice and swallowing treatment through research
UW Health Kids doctors and scientists work to provide better care for children. We study new treatments that restore voice or swallowing. Learn more
How to find us
We provide specialized voice and swallow care at American Family Children’s Hospital and at UW Health clinics in Madison.