Parkinsons: More than just tremors

What is the first thing you think of when you think of Parkinsons disease? Typically, people think resting tremors, maybe a shuffling gait, or rigid posture. As time goes by, communication skills begin to wane as well.

What did you say?

Dysarthria is difficulty with speech as a result of weakness of muscles or cranial nerves. There are various different types (typically results of strokes or other progressive neurological diseases). Hypokinetic dysarthria is a result of rigidity/reduction in movement - as seen in the rest of the body with Parkinsons disease- which results in monotone speech that is very low in volume. Also commonly seen is rapid speech with imprecise articulation, or slurred speech. Over time, it becomes very difficult to project and your loved ones are responding with the dreaded question: "What did you say?"

Am I a candidate for therapy?

I tend to lean toward the mindset that everyone is capable of making some progress. Greater progress is more likely at the earlier stages of the disease, but still possible in the later stages! There are two different speech therapy protocols for Parkinsons disease: LSVT or Lee Silverman Voice Treatment or SPEAKOUT! through the Parkinson voice project. These are both intensive regimens that focus on retraining the breath/speech patterns of those living with Parkinsons. They are both supported by years of research and both are producing life changing outcomes.