As a speech and language pathologist at Spencer Hospital, I am fortunate to work with people of all ages from infant to great-great grandparents, and with patients with all types of diagnosis. Typically our pediatric patients don’t have difficulty being proudly loud. However, volume can be challenging for patients with neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, to find their voices. I can help.
One of my areas of training has enabled me to become a national certified clinician in Lee Silverman Voice Treatment, typically known as LSVT LOUD.
(LSVT) LOUD is an effective speech treatment approach developed in 1987. It has been studied for nearly 20 years. Research has supported improvements with vocal loudness, pitch and voice quality. New research as also documented effectiveness of this therapy with improving common problems of disordered articulation, reduced facial expression and impaired swallowing.
LSVT LOUD improves loudness by stimulating the muscles of the voice box and speech system through exercises done systematically in a hierarchical manner. The single goals is to “speak loudly!” This can improve respiratory, laryngeal and articulatory function to maximize speech intelligibility. This treatment does NOT train people to shout or yell, but rather, LSVT LOUD uses loudness training to bring the voice to an improved, healthy vocal loudness without straining the voice.
Treatment is administered in 16 sessions over a single month. This is four individual sessions for 60 minutes per week. This intensive mode administration is beneficial for the nervous system to change in response to signals and is critical to attaining optimal results. The treatment not only simulates the motor system, but also combines sensory awareness training to help individuals recognize that their voice is too soft, convincing them that a louder voice is within normal limits, therefore making them more comfortable with the new louder voice.
LSVT LOUD has been successfully administered with individuals in all stages of Parkinson disease; however, the treatment has been most effective among those who are in the early or middle stages. This treatment has also been applied to individuals with sub-types of PD like Shy-Drager syndrome, mulit-system atrophy and progressive supranuclear palsy. Recently, LSVT LOUD has been applied to select individuals with stroke, multiple sclerosis, Down syndrome, and cerebral palsy with positive results.
If you or anyone you know could benefit from LSVT LOUD, I’m happy to help. It is a passion of mine helping others find their voice by giving them the tools to be confident again in speaking. Please contact your physician for a referral for LSVT at Spencer Hospital.