Unique Nonprofit Helps Parkinson’s Patients Speak Again
When you think of Parkinson’s you may think of celebrities like boxing legend Muhammad Ali, singer Linda Ronstadt, or actor Michael J. Fox. The reality is that there are more than one million Americans living with Parkinson’s today.
For the past eighteen years, I have dedicated my professional life as a speech-language pathologist to restoring the voices of those with Parkinson’s. Yes, I said restoring—because
it is possible to save a voice that appears to be deteriorating as a result of this neurodegenerative condition.
In 2005, I created Parkinson Voice Project, a nonprofit organization solely dedicated to preserving the voices of those with Parkinson’s. Our SPEAK OUT!® and LOUD Crowd® programs are highly effective, and notable improvement typically occurs within the first week of treatment. Those with mild impairments can usually regain normal speaking skills; those with moderate to severe challenges can typically regain basic communication skills—like talking to family on the telephone. The key is early intervention—the sooner a patient enrolls in speech therapy, the better chance of regaining the strength of the voice.
Something unique about Parkinson Voice Project is that the organization does not charge patients for speech therapy, and insurance is not billed. The program is funded entirely through donations and a Pay It Forward Initiative. This funding model has enabled every patient to receive the treatment they need without the worry of insurance or financial limitations. In 2013, with generous donor support, Parkinson Voice Project moved into a new 6,800 square foot facility—there is no other speech clinic like it in the world of which I am aware. The clinic is a second home to hundreds of Parkinson’s patients and their family members.
In order for people with Parkinson’s to regain their speaking abilities, it is pertinent that they work with a speech-language pathologist who has the skill-set to successfully treat these speech and voice issues. At Parkinson Voice Project, we hold workshops for speech-language pathologists to learn our therapy methods. Speech-language pathologists from across the United States (including Japan and Finland) have come to our Dallas area clinic for this unique training. Our next workshop is October 16 and 17, 2015. Once trained, these professionals are bringing SPEAK OUT! and The LOUD Crowd back to their communities. SPEAK OUT! Providers are listed on Parkinson Voice Project’s website.
Nothing gives me or my staff more happiness than to hear the testimonials from patients and families as to how SPEAK OUT! and The LOUD Crowd have impacted their lives. Statements such as “I’m back in charge!” or “I can order my food at a restaurant again!” are thrilling. I encourage anyone living with Parkinson’s, their advocates, and speech-language pathologists to contact us today.
For more information about Parkinson Voice Project, visit or call 469 375-6500.
FROM THE EDITOR
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