Speech training for Parkinson's Disease sufferers with Find Your Voice programme

Watford Observer: Speech training for Parkinson's sufferers Speech training for Parkinson's sufferers

New training will be available for people with Parkinson's living in Watford to help them improve their speaking and make themselves understood.

The West Hertfordshire Branch of Parkinson's UK currently offers singing groups called Find Your Voice to help those with the condition speak less quietly and more clearly, but now an intensive course of therapy has been made available.

Lee Silverman Voice Training, which helps people overcome difficulties speaking, will become available to 16 people with Parkinson's in a pilot study starting in south west Hertfordshire.

The scheme will include a one-hour assessment, 16 hours of treatment and a six-month follow up. After four months of the pilot study, the therapists will decide if anyone can do the training by Skype, at which point the number of participants can be increased up to a maximum of 22 people.

Currently, anyone referred for this treatment has to travel to the National Hospital in London. The branch hopes that the pilot study will make it easier for people to access the training locally. A support group will also be set up called LOUD Crowd for people having the treatment so that they can continue to practice with others.

Richard Windle, branch secretary, said: "Many people with Parkinson's get told to speak up, or speak more clearly.

"This training is proven to help people get their voice back. If you think you would benefit from taking part then ask your GP to refer you to the Speech and Language therapy department at the hospital, and ask them to say that the referral is for assessment for suitability for Lee Silverman Voice Training."

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