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Is it this hard for everyone?

Finding a speech pathologist

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#1 Peself



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Posted 10 October 2013 - 06:47 PM

Although I've always been soft spoken, over the past few months my speaking voice has become increasingly difficult for others to hear. This is obviously a common problem for people diagnosed with PD, so I thought that finding a speech pathologist who specializes in neurological disorders would be a fairly easy task. Not so. Even through the Parkinson's Foundation, I haven't met with any success. I've been introduced to several pathologists who are "willing to give it a try", but none with real background or expertise in PD. Am I missing something? Are there special certifications or designations I should be looking for in my quest? Any help in finding a relatively local expert would be greatly appreciated.

#2 Dr. Bassich

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Posted 10 October 2013 - 07:41 PM

Dear Peself,

I'm sorry you're having so much difficulty in finding a speech pathologist to help you.  The voice problems you describe are very common in person with PD and there are therapy programs that have evidence based practice to support their efficacy.  Have you contacted the NPF Helpline?  This is a Helpline sponsored by the National Parkinson Foundation (NPF). 


NPF sponsors a national training program for health professionals that is designed to teach OT, PT, SLP, Nurses, Nurse Practioners, MDs, Music Therapists and Social Workers about special techniques for working with persons with PD.  NPF should have a list of the SLPs who have completed this training.  This training program is called "Allied Team Training for PD" (ATTP). To date, there have been over  22 workshops throughout the United States, including Hawaii.


Another training program for SLPs who want to specialize in techniques to work with persons with PD is the Lee Silverman Voice Treatment program (LSVT).  If you google LSVT you will find their website.  They maintain a registry of all SLPs who have completed their training and are certified in providing this program.  They also are piloting the use of TeleHealth delivery of LSVT - so if you are comfortable with a telehealth delivery model for treatment, perhaps you could ask them for such specific contacts if there are no SLPs in close proximity to where you live.


I hope these tips are helpful and you can navigate to a SLP who can help you.


Dr. Bassich

#3 Dr. Mahler

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Posted 25 October 2013 - 01:08 PM

I am sorry to hear that you are having difficulty finding a speech-language pathologist who specializes in PD.  The website at www.lsvtglobal.com maintains a database of LSVT LOUD certified clinicians.  These are clinicians who have successfully completed a 2-day training workshop in a specific treatment technique developed for people with PD.  Regardless of what type of therapy you ultimately receive, these clinicians are more likely to have an active caseload in treating people with PD.  This is what you want - clinicians with experience and knowledge specific to PD.


You can also write again to this website if you have additional questions.


Thank you for your inquiry,


Leslie Mahler

Leslie Mahler, PhD, CCC-SLP

Associate Professor

University of Rhode Island

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