How Speech Therapy Helps Parkinson’s Patients Recover Their Voices

Parkinson’s Disease is a harsh illness, and one that we’re still working on every day. People all over the world suffer from this debilitating illness which robs sufferers of their ability to move, function and even speak. Speech therapists can be a valuable tool in the arsenal to battle this disease. Learn how speech therapy helps Parkinson’s patients recover their voices, and how you as a speech therapist can better aid your patients to regain their lives.

New Speech Therapy Program

Many people who have Parkinson’s are also those who rely upon their voice: actors, motivational speakers, lecturers, teachers and the like. Even those who don’t use their voice as a career can be devastated by losing their all-important ability to communicate. However, there is new hope for those who are seeking help in rediscovering their voice.

A new speech therapy program in the Spokane, WA area, for instance, led by a speech-language pathologist from Eastern Washington University is making a huge difference in these folks’ life. Program director Doreen Nicholas has created a two-part program, consisting of parts called “Speak Out” and “Loud Crowd”. Through this program, patients regain their voice through one-on-one speech therapy, and then learn to keep it through exercising it regularly.


A Growing Program

The program first came into existence in 2013, and there have been roughly 50 graduate students who have signed on to work with Parkinson’s patients as part of their studies. Patients are learning not only to communicate again, but how to re-engage in society on a social level, something else that many who suffer with this disease lose. By regaining their social interaction ability, they are able to vastly improve their quality of life.


Speak with Intent

Learning how to speak with intent is the key part of the therapy program. Patients use drills that involve repeated recitation, vocalization exercises and counting aloud to learn how to create intent without being able to hear themselves normally. They learn how to re-create proper intonation in their voices and to speak clearly and enunciate. This helps to strengthen speaking and swallowing muscles and increase vocal control.

There are twelve one-on-one therapy sessions which are conducted by speech language pathologists who are specially trained by the Parkinson Voice Project. Following these sessions, patients learn how to continue maintaining and building skills against the degenerative nature of the disease. It allows for support and encouragement in an ongoing basis.


The Speech Therapist

There’s no doubt that as a speech therapist you can make a real difference in peoples’ lives. Too many professionals get stuck in a rut and fail to keep developing and building their skills. Entering contract work can be a great way to experience exciting new innovations like the Speak Out/Loud Crowd project. The next time you find yourself in a rut or in need of new employment, why not try our expert healthcare staffing services? Check out some more information for healthcare job seekers, and get in touch with us to make a difference in someone’s life today.

BlogRey Rivera