About 80% of people with Parkinson's develop problems with their speech or voice (known as dysarthria or dysphonia). Many people also develop problems with eating, drinking and swallowing (dysphagia). The NICE guidelines and PD UK stress that early referral to a Speech and Language Therapist, with regular therapy and ongoing practice will help to maintain communication skills.
With Parkinson's you may find that:
- your voice is quieter
- you run out of breath when you're talking
- people ask you to repeat yourself
- it's difficult to get into the conversation
- your articulation is less clear; your speech can be slurred and words difficult to understand
- your speech sounds 'flat'; monotonous with little or no intonation
- you speak too quickly, too slowly or with a fluctuating rate of speech
- your facial expression doesn't match how you feel
- conversation becomes frustrating and you avoid talking to people
- you have difficulties eating, chewing, drinking and swallowing. Food or drink may 'go down the wrong way' and you cough or choke
- you have frequent chest infections
Our Speech & Language Therapy can help you by:
Providing LSVT (Lee Silverman Voice Treatment) which is the 'gold standard' therapy to improve voice and speech in people with Parkinson's Disease. This intensive treatment is recommended for people with PD in the NICE guidelines.
Providing other therapies to improve the intelligibility of your speech; working on breathing, volume, pace and better awareness of your speech in conversation.
Providing therapy via individual sessions or within a small group of other people with Parkinson's. Group therapy helps you to practise using your 'better' speech in conversation and maintain skills learned.
Helping you to manage your eating, drinking and swallowing problems; including problems controlling saliva and swallowing tablets.
Monitoring changes and assisting with the provision of an appropriate aid for communication if necessary.