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Speech-Language Institute of Salus Awarded National Parkinson’s Grant

The Speech-Language Institute (SLI) of Salus University has been awarded its third grant from the Parkinson Voice Project in recognition of their ongoing SPEAK OUT! & LOUD Crowd therapy programs.

Residents at a senior centerThrough the grant, SLI will continue this year to provide free group speech therapy to people with Parkinson's disease. The grant program, initially launched in 2018, also helps the clinical facility offer free training for SLI’s Speech-Language Pathologists (SLP) and graduate students in the SLP master’s program at Salus, as well as provide speech therapy supplies for clients.

“SLI is very happy to, once again, be awarded this generous grant from the Parkinson Voice Project,” said Eileen Hunsaker, MS, CCC-SLP, assistant professor and clinical educator within the SLP program at Salus. “Last year we transitioned all SPEAK OUT! & LOUD Crowd therapy programs to the virtual format. Using online teletherapy has allowed us to continue to provide free speech therapy treatment for people with Parkinson’s disease despite the restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic. This grant allows us to continue to provide these important therapies to our clients from the safety and convenience of their own homes.”

National grant recipients include hospitals, university speech-therapy clinics, private practices and nonprofit organizations. SLI is committed to offering Parkinson Voice Projects’ speech therapy program in the Philadelphia area.

“Up to 90 percent of people with Parkinson’s are at high risk of losing their ability to speak, and swallowing complications account for 70 percent of the mortality rate in this patient population,” said Samantha Elandary, Parkinson Voice Project’s founder and CEO. “Our vision at Parkinson Voice Project is to make our highly effective speech therapy program accessible to people with Parkinson’s worldwide.”

Senior men talking on benchThe grant program honors Dr. Daniel R. Boone, a world-renowned SLP and voice expert, who recognized in the late 1950s that individuals with Parkinson's could improve their communication if they spoke with “intent.”

Parkinson Voice Project’s program is based on Dr. Boone’s teachings and combines individual therapy (SPEAK OUT!) with ongoing group therapy (The LOUD Crowd) to convert speech from an automatic function to an intentional act.

SLPs at the Speech-Language Institute (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 in an individual speech therapy training program. Once the client participant reaches their individual treatment goals, they graduate to the LOUD Crowd® support group to learn to use the skills they’ve acquired in a group maintenance program.

Clients with the diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease 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.