Parkinson Voice Project has given a second grant to the Speech-Language Institute (SLI) at Salus University, enabling it to continue its SPEAK OUT! & LOUD Crowd therapy programs.
Through the grant — the amount was not specified — the SLI will continue offering free group speech therapy to Parkinson’s patients this summer. Because many people are staying home as much as possible due to COVID-19, the sessions are given electronically, using telehealth.
“Up to 90 percent of people with Parkinson’s are at high risk of losing their ability to speak,” Samantha Elandary, the Parkinson Voice Project’s founder said in a press release. “Awarding these grants has substantially increased access to quality speech treatment to those living with Parkinson’s.”
As part of the SPEAK OUT! & LOUD Grant Program, SLI’s speech-language pathologists, along with graduate students in the university’s College of Education and Rehabilitation Department of Speech-Language Pathology (SLP) program, will receive complimentary training and speech therapy supplies.
“Salus is honored to be awarded the Parkinson Voice Project grant for the second year in a row,” said Robert Serianni, MS, chair and program director of the SLP program. “We hope to combine the generous gift and the clinic’s technology to continue our work with individuals with Parkinson’s disease in an online format.”
Launched in 2018, the grant program aims to help Parkinson’s patients worldwide gain access to quality speech therapy to maintain their speaking abilities and minimize the threat of swallowing problems. It was expanded last year to include support for international speech therapy clinics, and honors the late Parkinson’s speech expert Daniel R. Boone.
To achieve its mission of making speech treatment widely accessible, Parkinson’s Voice Project set out to support speech language pathologists. These professionals, according to the organization, get low insurance reimbursement for services, and also often have trouble securing funding from employers for specialized training and supplies. The grants are designed to provide pathologists with the knowledge and tools needed to help the Parkinson’s community.
Grant recipients include hospitals, university speech-therapy clinics, private practices and nonprofit Parkinson’s organizations.
Combining speech, voice, and cognitive exercises, SPEAK OUT! addresses the motor speech issues related to Parkinson’s. LOUD Crowd is a voice maintenance program consisting of speech therapy groups and a singing segment to foster voice strength retention.
Under the two-part program, a patient and a speech language pathologist tackle a series of speech, voice, and cognitive exercises outlined in a specialized workbook. Stressing “speaking with intent,” the program switches speech from an automatic function to a deliberate act. Because speech muscles are also used for swallowing, the therapy benefits are twofold.
For more information about Salus University, based in the Philadelphia area, and its SLP or SPEAK OUT! program, call 215-780-3150 or visit its website.