The Parkinson’s Voice Project awards Master Clinical Educators Development Award

| Author: Kate Hodgkins

AnnMarie Bates and Lexis Landis, Master Speech Language Pathology Clinical Educators (MCE) in the communication sciences and disorders department, are the recipients of the Development Award from the Parkinson’s Voice Project for the SPEAK OUT!® program. SPEAK OUT!® is the first of two programs within the Parkinson’s Voice Project developed by Samantha Elandary, a Texas-based speech-language pathologist (SLP) who recognized the need for Parkinson’s Disease clients to receive individual therapy as well as ongoing support. SPEAK OUT!®  provides 3-4 weeks of individual speech therapy. During this time, clients are taught to speak intentionally instead of automatically. Clients learn exercises to increase their vocal intensity, vocal quality, and overall speech intelligibility. Clients should complete these exercises independently twice a day. The second Parkinson Voice Project program is called the SPEAK OUT!® – Group, which is an opportunity for individuals who have completed SPEAK OUT!® to come together to support and maintain the techniques they have learned.

The award granted to Bates and Landis will sponsor training for two CMU SLP supervisors, training for each SLP graduate student, and participation in Speak Out Program roundtables with other award recipients.  SLPs play an important role for individuals with Parkinson’s Disease. They provide communication and swallowing evaluations and therapy to people across the lifespan. Individuals with Parkinson’s Disease could maintain their quality of life longer by engaging in daily exercises to increase the intent of their voice and communication that SLPs specialize in. In addition, SLPs can assist in facilitating meaningful human connections with others on the same journey. Many of CMU’s current graduate clinicians will work with client’s diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in the future. Although they receive academic training on the neurological impact of Parkinson’s on a person’s speech and swallowing function, being able to provide evidence-based training and practice in the Carls Center for Clinical Care and Education will ensure that they are able to take this knowledge with them in their own future practice. CMU SLP graduates will impact the local community and beyond.

Bates and Landis have worked with Parkinson’s Disease clients for several years. Bates reports that she was inspired to learn how to help those who Parkinson’s Disease after Michael J. Fox was diagnosed as she was a huge fan of his, but also had a close family friend diagnosed as well. She stated, “Watching both men struggle to communicate and battle this disease motivated me to help people with Parkinson’s maintain their ability to communicate.” Landis reports she’s “excited to continue to serve this population” through this program, as she has worked with Parkinson’s Disease clients in the past and currently in the Carls Center assessing for voice and swallowing disorders.

Together, Bates and Landis were trained in the Parkinson’s Voice Project SPEAK OUT! ® program in May 2022. Since then, they’ve trained 15 SLP graduate students and 8 have implemented the programs with clients at the Carls Center. SPEAK OUT!® clients can participate in a weekly SPEAK OUT!® - Group in collaboration with the Isabella Commission on Aging.

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