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Help for Parkinson’s Disease

We realize just how much Parkinson’s disease can impact a family’s quality of life. Morris Hospital offers multiple resources for individuals with Parkinson’s disease:

There are two parts to Lee Silverman Voice Treatment: 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’s 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 difficult for a person to communicate with their family and friends, be understood on the phone, order food, talk at a party, or simply communicate with an unfamiliar listener.

Led by a certified speech language pathologist, LSVT LOUD is an effective treatment for people with Parkinson’s Disease and certain other neurological diseases.  The treatment 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 for up to two years following treatment if the participant continues to perform daily “homework” or maintenance tasks.

LSVT 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 that is 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.


In addition to issues with speech, many patients with Parkinson’s disease will notice decline in their gross and fine motor skills. They may walk with small or shuffling steps and have difficulty turning corners or getting in and out of bed. Sometimes writing, getting dressed, and feeding oneself gets harder as Parkinson’s disease progresses.

While LSVT BIG is also a program specifically designed to treat patients who have Parkinson’s disease, it 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’s disease may benefit from the therapy.

All patients who participate in the LSVT BIG and LOUD program perform standardized exercises with the addition of other exercises that are tailored to the individual’s needs and goals.

For more information, please call the Diagnostic & Rehabilitative Center of Morris Hospital at 815.705.7828.