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Parkinson’s Disease And Speech Therapy

A Swallowing And Medication

How does speech therapy help Parkinson’s patients?

As previously mentioned, levadopa treatment tends to have the most predictable effects on limb symptoms in PD. Nonetheless, certain aspects of eating and swallowing may be enhanced by medication.43 It therefore is recommended that patients time their meals and medication in such a way that they receive maximum medication effect during meals so as to facilitate upper extremity control and possibly oral and pharyngeal function.2 Similarly, some patients may show improvement in swallowing when medication is changed.43 Thus, in patients who have changed medication, the clinician may opt to wait several weeks to begin swallow therapy especially in the form of active range of motion exercises to determine whether the medication benefits the patients swallow. Some patients experience xerostomia as a side effect of pharmacologic treatment for PD. Depending on the existence of other swallowing and eating difficulties, taking frequent sips of water, throat lozenges or lemon drops, as well as synthetic saliva may prove helpful.

Q: Who Should Consider Lsvt Big

A: We believe that nearly every person with PD could benefit from LSVT BIG. Research shows that LSVT BIG treatment can lead to faster walking with bigger steps and arm swings, better balance, and more ability to twist at the waist. Clinicians also report that LSVT BIG often helps people with buttoning their clothes, writing and other smaller-movement tasks, as well large movements like getting up from a seat and getting into bed. It is also complementary with other community-based activities and exercises that many people with PD enjoy, such as dancing, boxing, cycling, tai chi, etc.

Ways To Improve Speech In Parkinsons Disease

5 min read

Parkinsons disease is a neurodegenerative disorder that affects the motor neurons. As it progresses, the person with PD may become harder to understand as their voice becomes softer or hoarse. Their face may become more masked or expressionless, and their voice may sound monotone with less emotion. They may speak faster , mumble, or repeat . Together these symptoms are known as hypokinetic dysarthria.

A speech-language pathologist is a specialist in communication disorders and can help a person with PD to speak more clearly and confidently. Here are 9 ways an SLP can help:

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What Are The Common Reasons That Someone With Pd May See A Speech

Often people with PD are referred to an SLP by their physician when they begin to have difficulty communicating or swallowing. Unfortunately, by the time people receive an evaluation from a SLP they have likely been experiencing subtle symptoms for quite a while. People with PD as well as their family members and friends often start being aware of communication issues when the person with PDs voice becomes too soft to communicate effectively. The communication symptoms begin very gradually, so they may first experience difficulty projecting their voice in a noisy environment, or when ordering at a drive-thru window. Over time they begin to experience more and more issues being heard and understood by others. Some people may gradually develop some imprecise/slurred speech and/or a hoarse or breathy voice quality. Communication can also be negatively impacted by changes in nonverbal communication, such as reduced facial expression and speaking with a monotone inflection.

Swallowing issues are often not detected until the person with PD is coughing significantly during meals or struggling to chew and swallow food safely and efficiently. The changes in swallowing can also happen so gradually that people assume symptoms are just related to aging or some other external factor, when in reality, these changes are directly related to the sensory and motor issues associated with PD.

Cognitive Therapy To Improve Communication


A speech language pathologist trained in cognitive therapy can help address the communication breakdown that can result from PD. The goal of treatment is to identify strengths and strategies that may improve functional performance. These may include:

  • memory retraining strategies
  • self-cueing strategies to increase speed and accuracy of word retrieval
  • organization strategies

There are several communication deficits associated with PD. In addition to speaking issues, individuals with PD can also experience comprehension deficiencies. These may include:

  • syntactic comprehension
  • pragmatic comprehension

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If I Have Speech And Voice Problems How Can I Maintain And Improve My Communication

Some tips to improve communication include:

  • Choose a quiet, low-noise space. Turn off televisions, radios and other devices that create noise.
  • Make sure your listener can see your face. Look at the person while you are talking. A well-lit room improves face-to-face conversation, increasing the ability to be understood.
  • Use short phrases. Say one or two words or syllables per breath.
  • Plan periods of vocal rest before planned conversations or phone calls. Know that fatigue significantly affects your ability to speak. Techniques that work in the morning might not work later in the day.
  • Keep your throat hydrated. Drink plenty of water. Dont drink beverages containing caffeine or alcohol. Use a humidifier if the air in your home is dry.
  • Keep an upright posture, straight chin, slightly lifted neck to improve airflow from lungs to your vocal cords.
  • If you are soft spoken and your voice has become low, consider using an amplifier.

If some people have difficulty understanding you, these additional strategies might help:

What Alternative Communication Devices And Tips Can Help With My Voice And Speech Problems

If you have difficulty speaking, are frustrated and stressed by your inability to communicate or tire from the efforts to speak, consider the following devices and methods to be better understood:

  • Amplification: This could be a portable personal amplifier or a telephone amplifier that can be used to increase vocal loudness in soft-spoken people. The amplifier also decreases voice fatigue.
  • TTY telephone relay system: This is a telephone equipped with a keyboard so speech can be typed and read by a relay operator to the listener. Either the whole message can be typed or just the words that are not understood.
  • Low-technology devices: Paper-based books and boards, alphabet boards and typing devices are examples of low technology assistive methods.
  • High-technology electronic speech enhancers, communication devices: Computers with voice synthesizers and speech generating devices are available. Talk to a speech-language pathologist about the available high technology devices best suitable for your needs.

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B Feeding Modifications And Drooling

Adaptive utensils may be helpful for promoting and extending independent eating. Later-stage PD may be accompanied by dementia, which complicates management of feeding and swallowing, as patients may be unable to follow directions for some compensatory strategies. Patients also may be unable to feed themselves, necessitating a trained feeder. Feeders should be trained to monitor the safety of each swallow as well speed and duration of meal. Because patients with PD may take longer to swallow, a longer mealtime should be allowed.2 Relatedly, for patients with reduced pharyngeal wall contraction and posterior tongue base retraction or who demonstrate impulsive feeding behavior, taking too much food too rapidly can result in increased risk of aspiration owing to collection of food in the pharynx. Smaller bites at a slower rate should be encouraged. Enteral feeding by means of a percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy may improve quality of life by providing nutritional support.2,43 For patients who are able, PEG does not preclude some nutrition by mouth for pleasure or nutrition.

Parkinson’s Speech And Language Therapy

Parkinson’s Home Speech Therapy Workout

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  • Related reading
  • Speech and language therapy aims to help people communicate to the best of their ability by assessing and treating speech and other communication difficulties. Parkinson’s speech therapy also helps with eating, swallowing and drooling problems.

    A speech and language therapist is a member of the multidisciplinary team, that is a group of professionals with different areas of expertise, who together will help you manage your Parkinsons.

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    Are There Reasons That Someone With Mild Pd May Benefit From A Speech Therapy Evaluation

    Yes! As with physical therapy, there are many things to teach a person with even mild symptoms. A baseline evaluation is an excellent idea, as many people are already exhibiting changes of which they might not even be aware in their volume, pitch range, voice inflections, and facial expression. Early treatment and education about the correct exercises can be very effective, particularly for younger people with PD who are not yet ready to reveal their diagnosis to others . The subtle communication impairments can significantly impact work relationships and effective communication and the perception of competence. People often tell me that they wish they would have known about the value of speech-language pathology services earlier. They are often so focused on their gait or tremor that they do not realize the impact of their communication impairment on their work and home life. Even subtle changes can signal challenges ahead and having a baseline evaluation and a treatment plan that can be amended over time is empowering and effective.

    What Devices Can Help Speech For Those With Parkinson’s Disease

    Here’s a sample of the devices that are available to help people with Parkinson’s disease communicate more clearly.

    Palatal lift. A dental apparatus that is similar to a retainer. It lifts the soft palate and stops air from escaping out of the nose during speech.

    Amplification. A personal amplifier can be used to increase the volume of the voice. The amplifier also decreases voice fatigue.

    TTY telephone relay system. A telephone equipped with a keyboard so speech can be typed and read by a relay operator to the listener. Either the whole message can be typed or just the words that are not understood can be typed.

    Low technology devices. Notebooks and language boards can be used as alternative communication techniques.

    High technology electronic speech enhancers, communication devices. Computers with voice synthesizers and dedicated communication devices are available.

    If you are interested in purchasing an electronic communication aid discuss this with your speech therapist before contacting sales representatives for these devices.

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    Ii Characteristics Of Dysarthria In Parkinsons Disease

    Speech rate characteristics as well as dysfluency in PD also deserve comment. Speech rates vary widely in persons with PD. Instrumental measures suggest that some speakers with PD have a normal rate, other individuals have a speech rate that is slower than normal and other persons have a speech rate that is faster than normal. In fact, hypokinetic dysarthria, which is the type of dysarthria most often associated with PD, is the only dysarthria for which rate may be faster than normal.21 Perceptual impressions of rate in PD must be confirmed with instrumental measures, as listeners perception of the rate of Parkinsonian speech grows abnormally rapidly.36 That is, for a sentence produced at the same physical rate by a speaker with PD and a neurologically normal speaker, the sentence produced by the speaker with PD will be perceived by listeners to be faster. Imprecise articulation and monopitch or reduced variation in voice fundamental frequency in the acoustic speech signal of PD have been proposed as potential explanations. Dysfluency occurs in approximately 15 to 45% of persons with PD, typically at the beginning of utterances or after a pause.37 The dysfluency is typically mild in severity and is characterized by rapid, blurred phoneme repetitions.

    Speech Problems Of Parkinsons Disease

    Comparison of Speech and Language Therapy Techniques for Speech ...

    The most common speech problems experienced by people with PD involve reduced volume , reduced pitch range , and difficulty with the articulation of sounds or syllables . In essence, you cant speak as loudly as others, you find it more difficult to convey emotion when you do speak, and you find it difficult to form the words you are trying to pronounce.

    You dont need me to tell you that this combination of factors makes speaking extremely frustrating. When you couple all of these voicing problems with the so-called masked faces of PD, the difficulty in expressing emotions via facial expression, its no wonder that people occasionally find it challenging to understand what you are trying to say.

    It may be tempting to withdraw from conversations with others altogether, but that would be a mistake. You need to interact with others on a daily basis, no matter how frustrating it becomes this is critical for your mental health, and be assured that your loved ones want to interact with you. The good news is that there are treatments, such as voice exercises, that can dramatically improve the voicing problems associated with PD.

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    Q: Who Should Consider Undergoing Lsvt Loud

    A: We at LSVT, strongly feel that nearly every person with PD could benefit from LSVT LOUD. We know that up to 90% of people with PD will experience reduced vocal loudness, monotone voice and imprecise articulation which can negatively impact communication and quality of life. We like to say, the earlier the better, but it is never too late. Early treatment may help people with PD regain any lost voice or speech function, reduce vocal fatigue, and increase confidence all while learning healthy, life-long vocal habits and practice. Even those who thought they didnt need speech therapy yet report their voice is stronger after LSVT, they are less fatigued when talking and have more confidence with communication.

    For those with more impaired speech, LSVT LOUD can help them to regain vocal loudness and speech clarity. It can restore not only their ability to communicate, but also their sense of engagement that can be lost when a person is ignored or overlooked for not being heard or understood. Although people with advanced speech impairment may need reminders to use their loud voice, LSVT LOUD can improve the physical capacity of their speech motor system and help them communicate more effectively.

    Pwr For People With Parkinson’s Disease

    Exercises is more than just fitness it is a physiological tool in the fight against Parkinson disease -Becky Farley, PhD, MS, PT, CEO/Founder of Parkinson Wellness Recovery

    All Care has therapists certified in the PWR program. PWR certified physical and occupational therapists have completed workshops where they learn to develop and prescribe comprehensive, individualized programming to address multiple symptoms and personalized goals for all levels of Parkinsons disease severity, fitness and co-morbidities. They offer focused education, problem solving, and coaching to empower and overcome barriers associated with inactivity and Parkinsons disease.

    In 2003 Dr. Farley created the first amplitude-focused physical and occupational therapy approach for individuals with PD called LSVT BIG. She has also pioneered a more flexible PD-specific exercise approach that incorporates high effort training of larger and faster functional movements called PWR!Moves. The Basic4 PWR! Moves targets skills shown by research to become impaired in PD and that interfere with everyday mobility:

    Antigravity extension

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    Zoom Voice Group For Pwp

    Cost: $60 / 6 weeks

    Class: voice exercise

    Duration: 60 minutes

    Classes run in 6 week sessions with a break in between. Class size is limited. Registrants must commit to all 6 weeks. You can register for the class with the instructor, speech language therapist, Jocelyn Lagier, on her website, by phone , or by using this form and mail her a check for tuition.

    Cost: Free

    What Is Parkinsons Disease

    Speech Therapy and Parkinson’s Disease

    Parkinsons Disease is a common movement disorder that affects approximately one million Americans. It is a neurological condition that typically progresses slowly and may worsen over time.

    One of the earliest and most widely occurring signs of Parkinsons is a tremor, along with stiffness and balance issues. Additionally, speech, swallowing and cognitive problems can be present as the disease progresses which can have a significant impact on daily life.

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    How Speech Language Pathologists Can Help

    Speech language pathologists are specially trained and certified rehabilitation professionals. For individuals with PD, an SLP can evaluate and treat a number of conditions that arise with PD, including:

    • communication deficits
    • cognitive impairments at all stages of the disease

    Therapy in the early stages can make a big difference on improving or maintaining current function. Working with an SLP can help patients continue to be independent in their daily living and enjoy their regular activities. Therapy at the later stages may focus more on ways to make up for functional deficits as the disease progresses. Some patients may benefit from the use of personal amplification for making the voice louder. Others may need what is known as augmentative communication . That is using alternative methods for supplementing or replacing natural speech such as a speech generating device.

    What Is Speak Out & Loud Crowd

    SPEAK OUT! Is a therapy regimen tailored to people with Parkinsons disease to improve their voicing, and in turn, their swallowing. In this program speech is transformed from an automatic function to an intentional task. SPEAK OUT! is usually completed in 12 sessions spanning four weeks. Clients report improvement in their speaking, their ability to be heard, and their overall quality of life!

    LOUD Crowd is the group therapy portion of the program and meets once weekly. The sessions provide maintenance for the skills learned during individual SPEAK OUT! sessions and are a source of camaraderie for members. The University of South Dakota, Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic offers LOUD Crowd for free to SPEAK OUT! graduates.

    The SPEAK OUT! And LOUD Crowd therapy regimens were developed at the Parkinson Voice Project in Richardson, Texas.

    Evaluation session : $175Individual therapy sessions: $60/sessionLOUD Crowd is a free service for those who complete the full SPEAK OUT! therapy schedule

    T: 605-658-3870

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    Speech And Language Therapy

    Some people with Parkinsons have problems with their speech and communication. This information looks at what difficulties you may experience and how speech and language therapy can help.

    Speech and language therapists specialise in all aspects of communication. This includes speech, using technology, and facial expression and body language.

    They are part of the team of healthcare professionals who can help you manage your condition.

    They will help with any swallowing and communication problems you may experience. For example, putting your thoughts into words, communicating your ideas to others and understanding what others are saying. They will be able to give you techniques or tips to help reduce problems and help you prevent them from happening.

    In the early stages of Parkinsons, a speech and language therapist will focus on maintaining as much of your communication ability as possible.

    They will develop strategies and exercises to help you with your volume and speed of speech, breathing, facial expressions and articulation .

    A speech and language therapist will also ask about the different settings you communicate in, as they can play an important part in how your problems affect your everyday life.

    They can help you, for example, if you work in a very noisy office where a soft or quiet voice is difficult to hear, or if you work in a very quiet environment that might not lend itself to speaking loudly.


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