Parkinson's disease is a progressive disorder that can last for years, or even a lifetime.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for this disease, but we found out thanks to a new grant awarded to Speech Therapy Solutions Montana, in Helena, people living with Parkinson's now have a place to go to better themselves and slow the progression of the disease.
The Parkinson's Voice Project has awarded Speech Therapy Solutions of Montana a specialized grant called "Speak Out and Loud Crowd" which has Parkinson's patients working through provided materials and exercises on a weekly basis to improve speech and voice.
"It includes individualized therapy for individuals with Parkinson's and once they graduate from that it will allow them to participate in the Loud Crowd program. The Loud Crowd program is a group type maintenance program,” explained Speech Language Pathologist, and founder of Speech Therapy Solutions Montana, Daylinda Radley.
Radley and two other speech language pathologist received exclusive training in these two new programs, something they say will be very beneficial to the Helena area.
"It's really always exciting to get new information, new trainings, and then when we found out there really isn't this service available to these patients in Helena we were just all overjoyed,” Speech Language Pathologist Krista Nolen said.
Radley was especially overjoyed because Parkinson's disease has a very personal impact on her life.
"Because my father who passed away a few years ago did have Parkinson's and he experienced a whole progression of that for a good 12-to-14 years and so I saw how his communication got impacted and how he began losing his voice and how it became very challenging for him to communicate his basic needs and wants and this is from someone who was very strong, who was a thriving civil engineer."
Radley added that Parkinson's doesn't just affect the patient, it also takes a toll on family members, and she wants to use the "Speak Out and Loud Crowd" program to help other families going through the same struggles she and her family went through.
"We saw how deeply challenging it was, not only for him, but for our whole family to see his journey so being able to provide that level of care to people in Montana or a population that has been under-served for a long period of time is definitely a very meaningful and powerful journey for us,” Radley said.
She and her staff already have one Parkinson's patient they are guiding through the new program, but they are eager to get the word out and reach as many patients as they can.