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What Happens in Parkinson’s Speech Therapy

One of the most difficult symptoms of Parkinson’s disease is difficulty speaking or difficulty swallowing.. Both of these symptoms can be helped by working with a speech pathologist or speech therapist. Parkinson’s disease is a progressive nervous system disorder that affects movement. Symptoms usually start gradually, sometimes starting with a barely noticeable tremor. Speech-language pathologists help people with Parkinson’s disease maintain as many communications skills as possible. They also teach techniques that conserve energy.

These include non-verbal communication skills. Speech-language pathologists are also available to help with appropriate communication technologies that will help with daily activities. They can treat all types of speech, language, and communication problems while evaluating the swallowing function and recommend changes as necessary. There are many steps they use to help maintain and enhance their patients’ speech.

  • They choose an environment with reduced noise.
  • Speak Slowly
  • Be certain the listener can see their face. Look at the person while you are talking. A well-lit room can help enhance face-to-face conversations and increase understanding.
  • Use short phrases saying one to two works or syllables per breath.
  • Over-articulate your speech by prolonging the vowels and exaggerating the consonants.
  • Choose a comfortable posture and position that provides support during long and stressful conversations
  • Be aware that exercises intended to strengthen weakening muscles may be counter-productive.
  • Plan periods of vocal rest before planned conversations or phone calls. Know that fatigue significantly affects your speaking ability
  • If you are soft-spoken and your voice has become low, consider using an amplifier.
  • If you can write without difficulty, always carry a paper and pen as a backup so you can write down what you are trying to say.
  • If writing is difficult, use an alphabet board to point o scan to the first letter of the words spoken
  • Spell works out loud or on an alphabet board if they are not undertaken. Establish the topic before speaking
  • Use telegraphic speech. Leave out all unnecessary words to communicate the meaning of the topic.

Sometimes speech-language pathologists will use nonverbal communication. Nonverbal communication is also called augmentative or alternative communication and it is a method of communicating without spoken words. When communication needs cannot be met through speech, the following techniques can help:

  • Make the best use out of what speaking ability is left.
  • Use expressions and gestures to communicate.

Nonverbal communication can help people with speech difficulties speak better. They can reduce frustration and stress for the individual struggling to communicate. They can also alleviate the pressure to speak and allow the person to be more relaxed and come across more understandably.

Speech therapy is vital for someone suffering from Parkinson’s disease and can be very successful in alleviating one of the more stressful parts of the patient’s disability.

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