Parkinson's disease

How we can help people who have Parkinson’s disease

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 exactly 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 as it is progressive, this means that Parkinson’s disease 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 coordination 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.

Speech therapy may also improve patient's confidence in communicating with others which may in turn increase social and work opportunities.

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.

Our speech and language therapists can help individuals who have Parkinson’s disease with attention and listening problems, communication problems, swallowing difficulties, voice and speech 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 assessment, reports, intervention, support groups, reviews and advice or education.

Some of the therapy options for individuals with Parkinson’s disease include:


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 you may benefit from speech and language therapy or would like any more information on our services please email or call 0330 088 5643.

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Worried about your communication?

If you are worried about any aspect of your speech, language and communication, do not hesitate to contact us to speak to one of our passionate speech and language therapists.

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Home visits

We are able to provide therapy in a place and time that is most suitable for you and your needs, including home visits.

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We offer a free telephone consultation in order to discuss any concerns regarding your speech, language, voice or swallowing.


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