Lee Silverman Voice Treatment (LSVT) is a research-based treatment program designed to help individuals with Parkinson’s disease to improve their voice, speech and functional communication. Based upon nearly 15 years of research data, this treatment offers the opportunity to consistently improve speech and voice production in individuals with neurological disorders, and significantly improve their quality of life.
The LSVT program teaches patients to “think LOUD” and to focus their efforts on increasing voice volume. With intensive treatment and frequent encouragement, patients learn to consistently increase their voice volume. As patients progress in therapy, the length and complexity of their speech increases, as does their volume. Practice and feedback begin with a single sound to train the patient about the correct volume and the breath support required to produce increased sound. Training moves on to simple and frequently used phrases so that loudness becomes habitual. Speaking full sentences, reading aloud and engaging in conversation are also part of the therapy. Repetition and reinforcement are also essential parts of the program. Through constant practice, patients learn to “recalibrate” and become accustomed to using a louder voice. Reinforcement from family and others in the community is also important to solidify the treatment gains. Patients practice with tape recorders and use sound pressure level meters for feedback.
LSVT LOUD is an intensive program, requiring four sessions a week for four weeks. A home program of exercises are provided and expected. After the therapy month is over the client has to continue to do the exercises independently to maintain the results. Follow-up sessions can be scheduled for maintenance therapy.
LSVT LOUD centers on a very specific therapy target: increased vocal loudness. This key target acts as a “trigger” to increase effort and coordination across the speech production system. At the end of one month of intense treatment, clients are able to generalize the loudness, resulting in dramatically improved speech.
Although LSVT LOUD was designed for patients with Parkinson’s disease this highly effective therapy program has been successfully applied to individuals with multiple sclerosis, stroke, ataxic dysarthria, aging voice, vocal fold paralysis and children with cerebral palsy and Down Syndrome.
For more information about LSVT visit www.lsvt.org.
For more information about working with an LSVT Certified Speech Language Pathologist at Good Talking People LLC, call 201-837-8371to arrange for an initial consultation.