“I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease some three years ago. Like many sufferers I have a range of symptoms, one of which is problems with my speech. In recent years, my speech had become quieter, somewhat slurred, and with the occasional ‘wrong word’. These changes happened gradually, over a number of years, such that I didn’t realise that my speech had changed. My consultant recommended both physical and voice therapy, and the Salisbury branch of PDUK put me in touch with Celia, and her Loud and Clear programme.
For the first 18 months, I attended group meetings every month. I found the mouth and facial exercises very illuminating, as I realised that my face had ‘forgotten’ how to use the full range of mouth and tongue movements. Celia picked up these issues and coached me to use the full range of movements. Similarly, she encouraged me to speak more loudly, another skill which I seemed to have forgotten. Finally, she re-emphasised the need to speak more slowly, with clarity and, hopefully, with emotion. Part of the therapy is to see and hear my ‘classmates’, this serving to help position myself on the spectrum of disability.
During the sessions, Celia is thoroughly professional, ensuring that we are taking in the lessons and, whenever necessary, stopping to correct a particular issue with one of us. But it is not all hard work. There is a social side to her classes, where she encourages us to talk about our recent activities/experiences which, by-the-by, serves to ensure that we are applying the Loud and Clear principles to everyday speech.
For the last 15 months, we have had to carry out the classes using Zoom. I have found, to my surprise, that this almost as good as the live sessions. The only thing missing is the social interaction before and after the session. But Celia is able to study our facial movements and monitor our speech exactly as if it was a live session.
I am a volunteer guide at a local museum, and I often speak to groups of visitors. I do so, loudly and clearly, thanks to Celia.“
– SE, Salisbury
Loud and Clear – SE