Speech Pathologist Martha Kogut of New York Institute of Technology is available to discuss successful voice therapies for patients with Parkinson’s disease.
Marsha Kogut, MS, CCC-SLP, a speech pathologist at New York Institute of Technology’s Adele Smithers Parkinson’s Disease Treatment Center says individuals with Parkinson’s disease often find relief and success with certain intensive voice therapies.
Singer Linda Ronstadt disclosed in an interview today that she “can’t sing a note” because of her recently diagnosed Parkinson’s disease.
Although Kogut is not familiar with the specifics of Ronstadt’s case and cannot speak directly on Ronstadt's condition, she regularly treats individuals with Parkinson’s disease and has had favorable results, particularly with the use of the Lee Silverman Voice Treatment program, an exercise-based behavioral program with a focus on the speech motor system. Kogut and her colleagues work with patients at the center, part of NYIT’s College of Osteopathic Medicine. The center’s guiding concept is to provide comprehensive care to help people improve and maintain quality of life while living with Parkinson’s disease.
“The outlook for a person with Parkinson’s can be very positive in terms of improving speech intelligibility and swallowing skills,” says Kogut. “Most individuals with Parkinson’s disease exhibit symptoms of soft volume, hoarse and breathy vocal quality, monotone, imprecise articulation (perceived as mumbling) and other problems modifying their speech rates. LSVT trains individuals to target loudness as a way to trigger improvement of all systems and generalize them to daily communication.”
As part of the therapy process, Kogut often uses singing exercises to enhance the vocal and respiratory mechanisms. She says these exercises can be therapeutic and are a fun way to enhance a tedious therapy session.
Ronstadt says she was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease eight months ago but began to show symptoms eight years ago.
“The most important thing is to consult with a neurologist who specializes in movement disorders who will tailor the appropriate medications and strongly encourage the initiation of the rehabilitation process,” says Kogut. “Almost anyone can benefit from this program. Although there are some prognostic variables that may indicate that certain individuals may have better outcomes, speech therapy is an essential part of improving the communication process for Parkinson’s patients.”
Adds Kogut: “Individuals with impaired cognitive abilities can benefit from this program, which encourages patients to talk loudly. As a result of reduced amounts of the neuro transmitter dopamine in the brain, Parkinson’s patients have reduced movements in all parts of their body. LSVT trains the individual’s brain to use the command “talk loud” and the vocal system will respond. Individuals with PD lose the automatic ability to talk loud – they have to command their body to do that. The individual learns to implement the talk loud command, use increased conscious effort, and take deep breaths, which results in family and friends being able to understand them once again.”
Kogut is a practicing speech language pathologist since 1975, with expertise in working with the adult neurologically impaired population.
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