Caroline Goodson, a speech-language pathologist with Iredell Health System’s Outpatient Rehabilitation Center, recently became certified in the individual speech therapy program SPEAK OUT!, which helps Parkinson’s disease patients retain or regain communication and swallowing skills — skills that are often lost as a result of the disease.
The SPEAK OUT! program, developed by the nonprofit organization Parkinson Voice Project, emphasizes speaking with intent and converts speech from an automatic movement to an intentional act.
After many years helping patients with Parkinson’s disease, Goodson was excited to learn of the evidence-based program that would help her patients make gains quickly through structured, daily tasks.
“The ability to communicate wants, ideas, and feelings is a very important, basic human need that I am happy to help people retain while living with degenerative disease,” Goodson said.
Patients complete speech, voice, and cognitive exercises with Goodson at each 45-minute session. Typically requiring three weekly sessions for one month and follow-ups as needed, the program provides patients with relatively fast results.
Parkinson’s disease is a progressive nervous system disorder that affects movement. Ninety percent of people with Parkinson’s are at risk of developing a weak voice that can lead to serious speech and swallowing problems. Common characteristics include reduced volume, hoarse voice quality, chronic throat clearing, trailing off at the end of sentences, and swallowing difficulty.
Approximately 60,000 Americans are diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease each year, and there are approximately 24,000 Parkinson’s patients in North Carolina.
To learn more about the SPEAK OUT! program, call 704-878-4530.