LOUDcrowd-xlarge(1).pngThanks to a grant from the non-profit Parkinson Voice Project, the Speech-Language Institute (SLI)  was one of 149 recipients to receive a 2019 SPEAK OUT! & LOUD Crowd grant for $5,000 that will be used for training students to help those with Parkinson’s Disease improve their voice, swallowing and cognition.

“Our goal is sure to make sure our students have experience with Parkinson’s disease patients,” said Robert Serianni, MS, CCC-SLP, FNAP, interim chair and assistant professor in the Department of Speech-Language Pathology in the Salus University College of Education and Rehabilitation. 

Grant recipients include hospitals, university speech therapy clinics, private practices, and nonprofit Parkinson’s organizations. Each clinical site will receive training for their speech-language pathologists and graduate students as well as speech therapy supplies. Some grant recipients will also receive funding to offset the cost of providing group speech therapy. 

People with Parkinson’s Disease may find it difficult to pronounce words clearly. This is because the muscles weaken in the voice box (larynx), throat, roof of the mouth, tongue, and lips.

Some resulting speech impairments might be:
  • Hoarse or strained voice
  • Muffled or nasal-sounding voice
  • Unclear or slurred speech
Speech-language therapists at SLI can help people with Parkinson’s disease maintain as many communication skills as possible. SPEAK OUT!® is an individualized treatment protocol that improves speech intelligibility and trains the use of intentional voice through the use of specific daily exercises. Clients work with a graduate student clinician, closely supervised by a Clinical Educator who is also a certified Speech Language Pathologist. methodology that includes a speech pathologist working with a participant in an individual speech therapy training prograOnce the client participant reaches their individual treatment goals,hits a certain level they graduate to the LOUD Crowd® move to and learn to use the skills they’ve acquired in a group maintenance program. what’s called LOUD Crowd, which is basically a maintenance program.

To join the program at SLI’s Elkins Park, Pa. campus, participants must have a diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease and  have recently completed  had received previous SPEAK OUT!® individual speech therapy services. Those with voice problems – like with nodules on the vocal chords that causes trouble producing voice - don’t qualify.
Serianni hopes to get the group up and running by early September. He would like to see 12 participants in the program, but there is not a maximum or minimum number of program participants.

“The opportunity to provide LOUD Crowd to the community helps SLI develop speech pathologists that are able to work with a variety of clients, especially those that have Parkinson’s disease,” he said. “SLI appreciates the opportunity for the Parkinson’s Voice Project grant to support growth of the programs. Students flourish in learning treatments that are applicable after graduation and the grants supporting their training will benefit them for years to come.”

Clients with the diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease or Parkinsonism who would like to participate in the program at SLI should contact 215.780.3150. They will be scheduled to participate in an individual evaluation to determine if they are a candidate for the program.

SLI - Patient, Student and Faculty