CareGivers America is proud to have two Therapists in our Clarks Summit Office certified in the Lee Silverman Program for Parkinson’s Disease. Ashley M. is certified in the LOUD Program as a Speech Therapist, and Nicole D. is certified in the BIG Program for Physical Therapy. What are these programs you may ask? Well, let us delve into the history and the outcomes for patients with Parkinson’s Disease.
“The Lee Silverman LOUD Program was developed in 1987 and has been studied for almost 20 years. Through research and data, this program showed “improvements in vocal loudness, intonation, and voice quality” for patients who have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease and have receive the program and these improvements were maintained for up to two years after they had received the treatment. The program uses loud speaking to help improve “respiratory, laryngeal, and articulatory function to help maximize speech intelligibility.” This helps to bring the patient’s voice to an improved, healthy vocal “loudness” with no straining. How long is the program? Well, it is administered in a course of 16 sessions at 60 minutes a session over an entire month and it is most effective to those patients who are in the early or middle stages of Parkinson’s Disease.” 
“The Lee Silverman BIG Program was developed by implying the principles of the LOUD program to limb movement. These principles have been effective in the short term when it comes to “increased amplitude of limb and body movement.” People were able to maintain the improvements when they were given a dual task to complete. This program can be given by either a Physical Therapist or Occupational Therapist and is also given in as many sessions as the LOUD Program. This is both intensive and very complex as it has many repetitions of the core movement that are used in normal daily living.” 
Now that we have learned what the programs actually are, let us hear from our therapists trained in these programs.
Ashley M., MS, CCC/SLP
I graduated from College Misericordia in 2006 with a Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology. I have been working with adults of all ages with various neurological diagnosis, including Parkinson’s disease, since 2006. I have been trained in a variety of treatment techniques. However, one that I have seen the most progress is called the Lee Silverman Voice Treatment – LOUD. It is an innovative treatment technique designed for patients with Parkinson’s disease and other neurological diseases. It is an intensive treatment approach, where the patient completes 4 one hour sessions a week for 4 weeks. Focus is primarily on increasing the patient’s vocal loudness to improve overall functional communication for daily activities. Included in the program is an extensive home exercise program to be completed throughout therapy and when therapy is completed. This assists in maintaining progress made throughout therapy, and assist in carry-over of functional activities.
Nicole D. PT, DPT
I graduated from Misericordia University with my Masters in Physical Therapy in 2003 and my transitional Doctorate in Physical Therapy in 2007. I have spent the last 15 years of my career working with children and adults with various neurological diagnoses and one of the most problematic and limiting conditions I have seen is Parkinson’s disease. I love the LSVT – BIG program because of its focus on large amplitude movements through all planes of movement as well as active stretching. The focused, repetitive treatment method is designed to be taught to the patient as an overall exercise program to be continued after the initial intensive 4 week session, and has been shown to improve ambulation, balance and overall function in people with Parkinson’s disease. I am excited to be able to offer this program to not only my patients with Parkinson’s but also to others with neurological diagnoses that may benefit from the treatment.
If you have any questions regarding the BIG and LOUD Program at our Clarks Summit Office, please call us at 570-586-2222.
 “What Is LSVT LOUD?” LSVT Global – What Is LSVT LOUD?, www.lsvtglobal.com/patient-resources/what-is-lsvt-loud.
 “What Is LSVT BIG?” LSVT Global – What Is LSVT LOUD?, www.lsvtglobal.com/patient-resources/what-is-lsvt-big.