Speak with Intent

October 20, 2021

By Laura Wolford, Ph.D., M.S., CCC-SLP & Ethan Wash, M.S., CCC-SLP

Almost everyone with Parkinson disease (75-90%) will experience changes to their speech and voice. For some, these changes are the first things that they or loved ones notice. For others, the changes develop much later over the course of the disease. Speech gets quieter and faster. People with Parkinson disease often speak in short, fast bursts. Muscle coordination changes, and speech may sound slurred or monotonous.

Family members are often the first to recognize these changes. They may find it harder to hear their loved ones or find that they are asking them to repeat themselves more often. Yet the person with Parkinson disease may not notice a change at all and may even think that the actual problem is with the family member’s hearing, because the disorder also affects how they hear themselves. This misperception can leave everyone involved feeling very frustrated.

Fortunately, speech therapy can help recalibrate the way that people with Parkinson disease talk and hear themselves and help them  speak with louder, clearer voices. One of the most popular therapy options is SPEAK OUT!®, which helps people with Parkinson disease regain control of their speech. The program helps clients to speak with intent and helps them practice that clearer speech in daily life.

SPEAK OUT!® is usually completed in 12 individual therapy sessions over four weeks. Clients work with graduate student clinicians who have completed specialized training in this therapeutic approach. Graduate student clinicians are supervised by licensed Speech-Language Pathologists who are also certified in providing SPEAK OUT!® therapy.

Once clients complete their SPEAK OUT!® program, they are encouraged to join The LOUD Crowd®, which is a therapy group for people with Parkinson disease. This group meets once a week in the morning, to provide members the support and practice to maintain the progress they’ve made during their individual therapy. Group therapy promotes the use of clearer speech through discussions and activities and also serves as a way for group members to connect and support one another.

During the four weeks of individual therapy and throughout group therapy, clients report improvement in their speaking, their ability to be heard, and their overall quality of life.

The SPEAK OUT! ® & The LOUD Crowd® therapy programs were developed at the Parkinson Voice Project in Richardson, Texas. For more information regarding this popular therapeutic program for Parkinson disease, please visit: https://www.parkinsonvoiceproject.org/

For more information about the Midwestern University sessions or to schedule an appointment, please call the Speech-Language Pathology clinic at the Midwestern University Therapy Institute at 623-806-7741.

The information contained in this article is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, care, or treatment. Always consult a qualified healthcare provider with questions regarding any possible health condition.

Laura Wolford, Ph.D., M.S., CCC-SLP is an Assistant Professor and Ethan Wash, M.S., CCC-SLP is a Clinical Instructor for the Speech-Language Pathology Program at the Midwestern University College of Health Sciences. Both Dr. Wolford and Mr. Wash are licensed, certified speech-language pathologists who supervise graduate students in their clinical rotations at the Speech-Language Pathology clinic at the Midwestern University Therapy Institute in Glendale, Arizona. The clinical team utilizes the latest technology to evaluate and treat a wide range of speech, language, and swallowing disorders for both children and adults, at affordable prices. Therapy sessions are available in the clinic (evening hours are available) and through online telemedicine services. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 623-537-6000 or visit: www.mwuclinics.com/arizona

 

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