Program uses vocal exercises to improve Parkinson’s patients’ speech

HealthBeat

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Around 60,000 Americans are diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease each year. 

Speech is one area the disease affects.

A program at Avera is helping patients work through those challenges.

Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disorder that affects movement and speech. The Speak Out Program uses vocal exercises to improve patients’ speech.

“The class has helped a lot with that, and I’m glad that we have that aspect, like I say, not only the physical exercise, and occupational, but the speech part of it too,” patient, Diane Lien, said.

The speak-out program involves a variety of speaking tasks that start from simple and work their way to complex

“It carries over into those conversational skills, because, as you know, I feel like the communication piece of Parkinson’s disease is somewhat overlooked,” speech pathologist, Ann Spader said.

Speak Out helps with articulation, pitch, and monotone speech.

“We’ve seen improvements in their swallowing as well, just for the fact that we use a lot of those same muscles and mechanics in swallowing as we do with our speaking skills,” Ann Spader said.

After going through an evaluation with a speech pathologist, and being involved with Speak Out, you can join the Loud Crowd.

“This allows them to continue to think about it, increase their awareness, and they’re there as a support for each other. It keeps them really accountable for continuing with their voice exercises and their cognitive exercises,” speech pathologist, Tina Jacobsen, said.

To learn more about the Speak Out Program, click here.

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