As soon as shelter-in-place orders became eminent due to COVID-19, Parkinson Voice Project jumped into action to ensure that people with Parkinson disease (PD) would not suffer from speech loss and life-threatening swallowing complications. Parkinson Voice Project is a nonprofit speech therapy clinic headquartered in Texas.
"We knew that people with PD were going to need our help to maintain their speech and swallowing during this crisis," says Samantha Elandary, founder of Parkinson Voice Project and speech-language pathologist.
Elandary immediately scheduled Facebook LIVE "SPEAK OUT! Home Practice Sessions" Monday through Friday at 10 a.m. CT (11 a.m. ET) and Tuesdays at 6 p.m. CT (7 p.m. ET). Awareness of these online speech exercises is spreading. The practice sessions have more than 1.5K views daily, and numbers are increasing as more people with PD find out about this unique opportunity.
Most individuals with PD (90%) are likely to experience speech difficulty. If left untreated, the speech muscles become weaker, and the disease starts to affect the ability to swallow. These issues can lead to serious, life-threatening complications. Aspiration pneumonia accounts for 70% of the mortality rate in the PD population.
"We want people with PD to know that our organization is committed to helping them keep their voices strong during COVID-19," says Elandary.
Visit https://www.facebook.com/ParkinsonVoiceProject/ to view the Facebook LIVE "SPEAK OUT! Home Practice Sessions."
Claire Smyth, BSc; David Roberts, BSc; and Kenneth Monaghan, PhD
Michelle L. Dougherty, MD, FAES, FAAN
Brad Klein, MD, MBA, FAAN, FAHS, FAANEM, and Raissa Villanueva MD, MPH, FAAN