Parkinson Voice Project, a non-profit organization, has named the Andrews University School of Communication Sciences and Disorders (SCSD) as a recipient of its 2019 SPEAK OUT! & LOUD Crowd Grant Program. Of the 149 grant recipients, five are international clinics. The total number of recipients marks a 62 percent increase from 2018 when this grant program launched, experts in the area said.
“Up to 90 percent of people with Parkinson’s are at high risk of losing their ability to speak, and aspiration pneumonia caused by swallowing issues accounts for 70 percent of the mortality rate in this patient population,” said Parkinson Voice Project’s founder and CEO Samantha Elandary. “Awarding these grants has substantially increased access to quality speech treatment to those living with Parkinson’s.”
Grant recipients include hospitals, university speech therapy clinics, private practices, and non-profit Parkinson's organizations. Each clinic will receive free training for their speech-language pathologists and graduate students, as well as speech therapy supplies. Some grant recipients will also receive funding to offset the cost of providing group speech therapy.
The SPEAK OUT! & LOUD Crowd Grant Program honors Daniel R. Boone, a world-renowned speech-language pathologist and voice expert who recognized in the late 1950s that individuals with Parkinson’s could improve their communication if they spoke with “intent.” Parkinson Voice Project’s speech therapy program is based on Boone’s teachings and combines individual therapy (SPEAK OUT!) with ongoing group therapy (The LOUD Crowd) to convert speech from an automatic function to an intentional act.
School leaders said that the Andrews University SCSD clinic is committed to offering Parkinson Voice Project’s speech therapy program in the Michiana area. Michiana is a region in northern Indiana and southwestern Michigan, United States, where Andrews University, a Seventh-day Adventist institution of higher education, is located.
As a grant recipient, the SCSD clinic now provides SPEAK OUT! and The LOUD Crowd to the local Parkinson’s community.
SPEAK OUT! consists of individual speech therapy conducted by a speech-language pathologist. Together, the patient and clinician work their way through a series of speech, voice, and cognitive exercises outlined in a workbook. The LOUD Crowd consists of weekly speech group therapy sessions and provides camaraderie, support, and encouragement for this patient population battling a progressive, degenerative condition.
"The ultimate goal and my hope for this program are that Michiana area people with Parkinson's will be able to use the intensive speech therapy and resources available to us through the Parkinson Voice Project grant to preserve and maintain their vocal quality and swallowing abilities,” said Jenica Joseph, assistant professor of speech-language pathology. “I want them to feel confident when speaking and be able to maintain the joy that comes with communicating, socializing, and eating.”