Everything You Need to Know About Lee Silverman Voice Treatment
I recently stumbled upon a suggestion on our ParkinsonsDisease.net Facebook page that got me thinking.
There’s a program that’s designed to help Parkinson’s patients combat symptoms that relate to vocal and physical changes in the body. The Lee Silverman Voice Treatment (LSVT) program is growing in popularity as Parkinson’s patients are discovering its benefits.
My dad struggles with maintaining his vocal volume. And, while he doesn't participate in LSVT, I think that he could benefit from it or a program that's similar to it.
The program requires a referral by a medical professional. But, since it can be so challenging to combat progressive changes in the body and voice, it may be worth the inquiry.1
LSVT currently has 2 different program types that help Parkinson’s patients to slow symptoms that relate to the voice and the body, encompassing many of the struggles that are present within the disease.
LSVT Loud is a program that is designed to encourage assertive speech in patients who are beginning to lose their vocal power. It trains Parkinson’s patients to use their voices loudly. But not only does the program appear to help with speech, it also has been shown to positively impact swallowing and coughing in Parkinson’s patients.2,3
My dad utilized some of the LSVT Loud strategies during his Rock Steady Boxing classes, which seemed to make it easier for him to fight the silence. And I'm curious about the impacts that others have seen from programs like LSVT Loud.
In a disease where difficulty with swallowing and coughing is an infamous symptom, any relief may bring solace. LSVT Loud delivers consistent results in patients who participate in their programs.2
LSVT Big caters to those who are experiencing small and large changes to their motor skills. In the same way that Parkinson’s reduces vocal power in patients, it also shrinks movements.4
LSVT Big aims to challenge the degeneration in movement by creating large gestures. Doing so can help Parkinson’s patients get around, and complete day-to-day tasks with more confidence.4
Although less research has been done surrounding LSVT Big, emerging evidence is showing that this program can be just as helpful as LSVT Loud at reducing common Parkinson’s symptoms.4
My dad's strategy for combating muscular changes is to stretch every morning, and to get some kind of exercise. He does a great job of tackling these struggles. But I am curious to know if a program that's specifically geared towards Parkinson's may have a bigger impact.
Both LSVT programs are customized to each patient, so the practice may vary between people. But this is a good thing, because it means that your routine should hone in on your personal experiences instead of mimic those of others.
While the LSVT programs were initially create to help Parkinson’s patients, it may also be helpful for other people who struggle with speech or movement disorders. And, finally, although professionals encourage those who are interested to start as early as possible, you can begin at any time.
Exploring speech therapy
For caregivers and patients alike, the loss of vocal power can be one of the most frustrating challenges that relate to Parkinson’s. Difficulties with communication may make day-to-day tasks more challenging.
I've found that my dad speaks less frequently. I can only imagine that he doesn't enjoy having to repeat himself. But I'm hopeful to know that there are programs that may help him. And with the loss of strength to your swallowing and coughing muscles, you may be more likely to experience extreme challenges with illnesses.
Because of this, exploring speech therapy, LSVT programs, or alternative outlets may present helpful solutions to these problems. Even science is beginning to show the positive effects of conscious vocal care.
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