Speech and Hearing Center awarded grant from Parkinson Voice Project

The Marshall University Speech and Hearing Center (MUSHC) has been awarded its third grant from the Parkinson Voice Project in recognition of their ongoing SPEAK OUT! ® & LOUD Crowd ® therapy programs.

The Speech and Hearing Center was the first clinic in West Virginia to offer the SPEAK OUT! ® & LOUD Crowd ® programs after receiving its first grant in 2018.  Since that time, the program has grown from three members to 15 consistent group members for a total of over 40 individuals with Parkinson’s disease served.  Group members reside in West Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky and even New Jersey, according to Ernay Adams, coordinator of the SPEAK OUT! ® & LOUD Crowd ® therapy programs.

"SPEAK OUT! is a specialized treatment program to improve the voicing and swallowing of individuals with Parkinson’s disease," Adams said. "This treatment is billed as any other therapy would be.  Once completing SPEAK OUT!, the clients then graduate to LOUD Crowd.  LOUD Crowd is a group that meets once a week to maintain progress gained in therapy.  LOUD Crowd is a free service offered at our Speech and Hearing Center."

As a result of this grant program, seven speech-language pathologists and over 30 graduate students have received free, specialized training in the treatment of voice and swallowing for people with Parkinson’s disease. Adams said this training will continue with the new grant cycle.

In order to maintain the speaking and swallowing function of these clients with Parkinson’s disease, the MUSHC is now offering the SPEAK OUT! ® & LOUD Crowd ® programs online through telehealth.  The first virtual LOUD Crowd was led by Adams and met on Tuesday, April 14, with nine participants.  Adams said this number is anticipated to grow, and any person who has completed SPEAK OUT! or Lee Silverman Voice Therapy is eligible to participate in the group.

"Though the Speech and Hearing Center is currently on a pause from the norm, client care cannot be placed on pause," Adams said. "Any individual with Parkinson’s disease that is experiencing even the most minimal voice or swallowing change can benefit from this program."

For more information about the Parkinson Voice Project and its 2020 grant recipients, visit www.parkinsonvoiceproject.org/. To learn more about telehealth options for a loved one with Parkinson’s disease, contact Adams by phone at 304-696-3644 or by e-mail at ernay.adams@marshall.edu, or call the Speech and Hearing Center’s clinic line at 304-696-3641.

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Photo: Ronnie Delph is one of 40 individuals with Parkinson’s disease who has benefited from the services offered through Marshall University’s Speech and Hearing Center and its SPEAK OUT! ® & LOUD Crowd ® therapy program.