Here at Morris Hospital, we realize just how much of an impact Parkinson’s disease can have on a person and his or her family. We have specially trained PTs and SLPs to help with the impairments and symptoms of this disease.
Lee Silverman Voice Treatment (LSVT) has two parts, LSVT LOUD and LSVT BIG. Patients can participate in one or both programs depending on their individual needs.
Approximately 89 percent of people with Parkinson Disease will have problems with their speech. It is common for the problems to start early in the disease process and worsen over time. Some common speech problems associated with Parkinson’s Disease are use of a soft voice, mumbled speech, monotone speech or a hoarse voice. It can make it hard for a person to communicate with their spouse and friends. It can be difficult to be understood on the phone, ordering food, talking at a party or simply talking with an unfamiliar listener.
LSVT LOUD is an effective treatment, led by a certified Speech Language Pathologist, for people with Parkinson Disease and some other neurological diseases. It has been studied for over 20 years and has research to prove that it can effectively improve areas of loudness, intonation and vocal quality. It can also have lasting benefits following treatment for up to two years if the participant continues to perform daily “homework” or maintenance tasks.
Treatment is focused on a single goal, “speak LOUD.” The treatment does not train people to shout or yell. It uses loudness training to bring the voice to an improved, healthy vocal loudness; appropriate for conversation. In turn, this focus on loud aligns other aspects of the speech such as articulation and intonation which improves the “understandability” of the speech. Most clients may notice improved facial expressions following treatment.
LSVT BIG is also a program specifically designed to treat patients who have Parkinson’s disease, but is led by a certified Physical Therapist or Occupational Therapist. The focus of LSVT for physical and occupational therapy is “BIG.” The program re-trains the brain and body to increase the amplitude of movements so that they feel and appear more “normal” in size. This training will help patients with tasks ranging from handwriting and buttoning clothes, to walking and going up stairs. Patients of all ages and disease progression may be appropriate to participate in LSVT BIG.
LSVT BIG and LOUD can be performed together or separately. The program itself is an intense 4 week course, consisting of one hour treatments on four consecutive days each week. The intensity of this program is what helps to “re-wire” the brain to perform actions with more purpose and drive. It is encouraged that patients come to treatment immediately as they may not be aware of changes in their movement, speech and voice. However, patients at any stage of Parkinson Disease may benefit from the therapy.
For more information, please call the Diagnostic & Rehabilitative Center of Morris Hospital at (815) 364-8919 and press 4 for Physical, Occupational and Speech Therapy.