New Program Helps Those With Parkinson’s Disease

Henry Community Health Speech Therapist Jana Lukens, SLP, has introduced a new program as part of HCH’s Rehabilitation Services – Lee Silverman Voice Treatment or LSVT Loud.

“Many of those with Parkinson’s Disease speak in a low tone of voice as well as mumble, but perceive they are speaking loud enough,” said Lukens. “Sometimes, the voice is one of the first symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease,” she added.

The LSVT Loud Program is an effective speech treatment for people with Parkinson’s Disease as well as other neurological conditions. It trains them to use their voice at a more normal loudness level when speaking as well as helps with the clarity of speech and swallowing function. During the 16 one-hour sessions with Lukens spread over a four-week period she focuses on increasing vocal loudness.

“Patients also must be committed to a home vocal exercise plan,” stressed Lukens who already has had a patient successfully complete the program. The first patient gained greater than 10 decibels in vocal loudness and two more are beginning this month.

A referral from a neurologist, ENT (otolaryngologist) or primary care provider is needed to be accepted into the program. Contact Lukens at or by calling 521.1132.

Speech Therapy Services

Speech therapy services are offered to patients after a Traumatic Brain Injury, neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s, a stroke or stroke-like symptoms.

Symptoms for these patients include cognitive deficits such as short term memory loss, speech and communication problems.

Patients also are seen for swallowing difficulties and voice therapy. Modified Barium Swallows are used to determine the patient’s ability to eat or swallow. Based on the results of the study, diet and therapy recommendations are made.