There are many reasons why our speech and communication skills may change. You may have noted some changes in a family member or friend, particularly as we age. There may be a noticeable change in our voice quality or our breathing patterns that support speech. Our speech may become less clear as we see changes in our muscle tone and hearing.
Some causes for a decline in speech skills include:
Accident or injury
Traumatic brain event such as a stroke
Neurodegenerative disorder such as Parkinson’s Disease or Multiple Sclerosis
Some medications or drug use
Speech and communication problems may result in social isolation, deteriorating relationships and depression. Speech Pathologists can help you maintain your speech function and improve your ability to communicate in challenging situations.
LSVT Loud (Lee Silverman Voice Treatment) is a therapy programme for clients with Parkinson’s Disease and other neurological conditions to improve their speech and communication skills. Neurodegenerative disorders generally lead to soft and mumbled speech, and it’s often hard for the person with the disorder to realise their speech is affected. They may struggle to perceive the intensity and volume of their speech. The goal of this evidence-based therapy is to ‘be loud’.
LSVT Loud therapy aims to improve the speaker’s breath support for speech, voice function, articulation and speech intelligibility. It is an intensive programme that is provided four days a week for four weeks. Participants are highly motivated by the improvements that are often seen after the first few sessions. Changes are measured in terms of speaking volume and intonation, but results also include increased confidence in communication and improved facial expressions.
Research has shown that LSVT Loud therapy works, and the effects of treatment are long-lasting. The therapy improves the client’s neuromuscular control of the muscles involved in speech and swallowing, improving speech clarity and promoting safe swallowing. LSVT Loud therapy has also shown to be effective for children with Down syndrome and cerebral palsy.
Newcastle Speech Pathology has certified LSVT Loud clinicians. Contact us to find out more about this life-changing therapy and discuss our intervention options.