By Kirstie Koller
Canterbury District Health Board (CDHB) Community Speech Language Therapists offer a variety of services for people with communication difficulties resulting from their Parkinson’s. These include the Parkinson’s Communication Treatment Group, LSVT LOUD, and the Parkinson’s Society Communication Maintenance Group.
PARKINSON’S COMMUNICATION TREATMENT GROUP
This programme of once-weekly morning sessions runs for eight weeks. Everyone invited to attend the group has a diagnosis of Parkinson’s and is having some difficulty with communication, such as decreased confidence in social or work settings, slurred speech, difficulty processing information, or quiet voice.
Between six and 12 people attend the group and their partners or supporters are invited to attend half the sessions. If people are not sure that a group is for them, we recommend they attend the first morning to see how a small group of like-minded people can support each other to improve communication.
Many people with PD are not aware their voice is too soft, although their spouse usually is! Often they have withdrawn socially or stopped participating in activities they enjoy, e.g. meeting friends at the pub, singing in church, going out for coffee, or chairing meetings. LSVT* aims to recalibrate the sensory perception of normal loudness and assist people to produce adequate voice in a variety of situations.
All of the CDHB Speech Language Therapists are certified LSVT LOUD clinicians.
LSVT*, (Lee Silverman Voice Treatment) was developed in the USA in 1987 and has been scientifically studied for nearly 20 years. It is an intensive, one-month individual speech therapy programme that enables people with Parkinson’s (PD) to speak in a louder, good-quality voice.
Published research data shows significant improvements in vocal loudness, intonation, and voice quality for people with PD who receive LSVT LOUD* and that improvements are maintained two years after treatment.
*LSVT and LSVT LOUD are trademarks of LSVT Global and LSVT can only be offered by clinicians who have been examined and certified by LSVT Global.
PARKINSON’S SOCIETY COMMUNICATION MAINTENANCE GROUP
This monthly meeting is open to all members of the Society who have previously attended individual or group Speech Language Therapy. The meetings are held on the last Tuesday morning of the month at the Parkinson’s Society Rooms, 314 Worcester Street, Christchurch. Sessions include group discussion and activities, and opportunities for partners to be involved. Morning tea is provided.
Referrals to the CDHB Community Speech Language Therapy Service can be made through your GP, Medical Specialist or the Parkinson’s Society.