Parkinson's disease is a neurological disorder and is progressive, meaning it gets worse over time. People who have Parkinson's are lacking in the chemical dopamine as some of the nerve cells situated in the brain have died.
Speech and language therapy can help people who suffer from Parkinson's disease by offering support and solutions to communication and swallowing problems.
What is Parkinson's disease?
Parkinson's disease is when people are lacking in the chemical dopamine. Without this chemical, a person's movements will become slower and tasks can take longer to complete. The symptoms of Parkinson's will begin to appear as these nerve cells die (when 70% have died). There is currently no cure for Parkinson's and as it is progressive meaning it will worsen over time.
Speech and language therapy will help patients to cope with their difficulties arising from Parkinson's disease, including speech, language, communication and swallowing difficulties.
What causes Parkinson's disease?
The exact cause of Parkinson's is not yet known and research is still being developed to try and understand the cause. Dopamine is the chemical made by the cells which die in a person with Parkinson's. Dopamine is used to send messages to the brain allowing for co-ordination of movement. People may develop Parkinson's as a result of genes that can increase the probability of the disorder, in combination with environmental factors.
How is Parkinson's disease diagnosed?
Parkinson's is diagnosed by a neurologist, as part of a multidisciplinary team which may include a speech and language therapist.
The speech and language therapist will assess, identify and treat any speech, language, communication and swallowing difficulties.
How does speech and language therapy help Parkinson's disease?
Speech and language therapy can be very helpful to someone who has Parkinson's disease. Speech and language therapists will investigate; swallowing, facial expression, and body language as well as language and speech. It is thought that up to half of Parkinson's patients will; at some point have difficulty with communication and speech.
Benefits of speech and language therapy include:
- Improved Speech
- Improved Receptive Communication
- Improved Expressive Communication
- Reduced Stress and Anxiety
- Improving Coping Strategies
- Improved Understanding
- Increased Independence
- Eating, Drinking and Swallowing Benefits
What problems caused by Parkinson's disease can speech and language therapy help with?
Speech and language therapy can help with a number of problems which are caused by Parkinson's. Each person's treatment will be different, however, generally people will have the same sort of difficulties relating to speech, language and swallowing. This is because as the condition gets worse the control of the muscles will deteriorate and can include the tongue, larynx, pharynx and vocal cords. Therefore speech and language therapy can help with the following areas:
- Attention and Listening Problems
- Comprehension Problems
- Expressive Language Problems
- Speech Sound Problems
- Communication Problems
- Eating, Drinking and Swallowing Difficulties
- Voice Problems
What would speech and language therapy treatment for Parkinson's involve?
Speech and language therapy treatment will involve an individualised treatment plan, which will depend upon the symptoms and stage of the individual's Parkinson's disease. Generally, speech and language therapy will include some or all of the following:
Some of the therapy options for individuals with Parkinson's disease include:
- Lee Silverman Voice Treatment
- Alternative and Augmentative Communication
- Voice Therapy
- Compensatory Strategies
- Eating Drinking and Swallowing Management
How do I arrange a speech and language therapy sssessment for Parkinson's disease?
To arrange an assessment with one our speech and language therapists for someone who has Parkinson's disease please call 0330 0885 643 and one of our speech and language therapists will be happy to help.
There are many different signs and symptoms of Parkinson's disease. Speech and language therapy can help with the communication and swallowing aspects of this as well as facial expression and body language. If you feel our speech and language therapy service would be beneficial please contact us to arrange an assessment by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 0330 0885 643.
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