Parkinson’s Awareness Month: LSVT Training at Magee

Do you have Parkinson’s Disease?  Do you suffer from small movements and shuffling gait? Have you been told your voice is “too soft,” or do you find that people have trouble hearing you? If so, the LSVT BIG and LSVT LOUD programs may be for you.

LSVT BIG

LSVT BIG is an intensive, exercise-based program that is intended to improve range of motion, quality, and coordination with functional activities for people with Parkinson’s Disease. For example, patients can work to increase the size of their writing as to improve legibility, take bigger steps to improve walking, and make bigger hand movements to increase the ability to open containers and dress themselves.

The program occurs for one hour per day, four times per week for four weeks with a skilled occupational or physical therapist.  Although the program is highly structured, it is also tailored to the individual, and each session includes seven exercises that are to be done daily (in and outside of Magee) as well as functional tasks.    

LSVT BIG is reimbursable and adaptable to a variety of Parkinson’s patients. The major difference that separates this program from other methods of treatment is that the exercises help to improve the quality of movement in all functional activities for patients.

At Magee, we have several therapists who are LSVT BIG-trained at our different locations, making it easier for patients to attend sessions. Magee also offers screenings and evaluations to determine whether or not patients are appropriate for LSVT BIG treatment. If you or a loved one is affected by Parkinson’s, please call (215) 218-3900 to schedule a screening and evaluation. The time is now to move BIG, act BIG, and think BIG!

LSVT LOUD

LSVT LOUD draws from theories of motor learning and skill acquisition, as well as principles of neural plasticity, to improve the communication of individuals with Parkinson’s.

Training is designed to help people with Parkinson’s to recognize that their voice is too soft, appreciate that their louder voice is actually within normal limits, and help them to feel more comfortable with using their new, louder voice.

The goal of LSVT LOUD is improved, healthy vocal loudness with no strain. This process takes repetitive, consistent, skilled practice with combined motor-system stimulation and sensory awareness training.

 LSVT LOUD includes 16 sessions over a single month (four individual 60 minute sessions per week) by professional speech therapists certified in delivering the treatment. Home exercises are also provided to establish carryover of techniques into daily living. LSVT LOUD is backed by years of efficacy research, with results supporting improvements in vocal loudness, intonation, voice quality, articulation, facial expression, and even swallowing for individuals living with Parkinson’s.

While LSVT LOUD has been successfully administered to individuals in all stages of Parkinson’s, the treatment has been most effective among those who are in early or middle stages of the condition.

At Magee Riverfront, we have two outpatient speech therapists trained in administering LSVT LOUD. If you think that you or a loved one might be appropriate for such treatment, please visit our website and contact Magee today to schedule an evaluation, and get ready to think LOUD!

Guest authors: Sarah C. Lantz, M.A., CCC-SLP, and Alberto Vernacchio, MOTR/L

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