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Speech therapy focuses on the ability to express one's self and to understand others.
Study participants needed
Parkinson's disease is a disorder of the brain that leads to shaking (tremors) and difficulty with walking, movement, and coordination.
Lee Silverman Voice Treatment (LSVT®) Big and Loud Therapy
For more about LSVT
A doctor's referral is required.
Sister Kenny Rehabilitation Institute offers Lee Silverman Voice Treatment (LSVT®) Big and Loud Therapy to empower those living with Parkinson's disease to move and speak better.
Declining vocal strength, muffled speech and difficulty swallowing create problems with communication and eating. Patients also often experience tremors, slow movement, impaired balance and stiffness.
But there is good news – studies have proven patients with Parkinson's disease at any stage can benefit from intensive rehabilitation.
LSVT Big and Loud is especially effective soon after the disease is diagnosed.
LSVT can help people with other conditions too, such as stroke, multiple sclerosis, multiple systems atrophy, cerebral palsy, and even Down syndrome.
Speak loud – move big
LSVT is an effective treatment program that's proven to help individuals living with Parkinson's disease, giving them new hope for improved communication and movement for work, family and social activities.
The method was developed following rigorous research funded by the National Institutes of Health.
Sister Kenny physical therapists, occupational therapists and speech-language pathologists are certified to offer LSVT Big and Loud at several convenient locations.
LSVT Big and Loud is an intense program that includes physical and/or speech therapy over a period of four weeks.
Physical therapists or occupational therapists use LSVT Big to address the unique movement impairments for people with Parkinson's disease. Therapists work with individuals to improve major motor skills, like walking, arm and leg movement, balance, and hand skills such as writing.
Speech-language pathologists improve vocal loudness by stimulating the muscles of the voice box (larynx) and speech mechanism through a series of loud exercises. Therapy does not train people to shout or yell – rather it trains a healthy louder voice with no strain.
Outcomes show that 90 percent of patients improve vocal loudness following treatment with a majority maintaining improvement for 12 to 24 months after treatment.
Patients also have also shown dramatic improvements in balance and speed of movement in walking and daily living tasks.
If a patient is not a candidate for LSVT Big and Loud, a less intensive traditional therapy schedule can be arranged.
Source: Sister Kenny Rehabilitation Institute
Reviewed by: Jane Chandler, MA, CCC-SLP, speech-language pathologist
First Published: 03/22/2011
Last Reviewed: 08/08/2012