My name is Gary and I was a senior officer in the British Army.

I have had Parkinson’s Disease since 1998 and was aged 45 when first diagnosed.  I used to be a gregarious individual and confident public speaker but over the past few years with the onset of Parkinson’s the quality of my voice (power, pitch and intonation) declined and I became less confident in public settings.

In 2007 Celia worked with me using the Lee Silverman Voice Technique (LSVT LOUD®) programme.   This was a deliberately intense programme delivered over four days per week for four weeks, each session lasting a full hour.  Every session was focused and challenging and I was constantly pushed to achieve maximum benefit out of each session.

Celia was very thorough, very professional and clearly knows her subject.

The sessions involved a series of voice exercises where we measured the volume, the pitch and the length of time I could hold certain sounds.  In addition we read articles and practiced key phrases that I would use in everyday situations.  These were recorded and played back to show the progress I was making.

By the end of the first week, I was already making clear progress. My wife particularly noticed that I was speaking more clearly, and more loudly.  She could hear what I said first time around and instances of being asked, “What did you say?” reduced.  In social situations I became more confident and was happier to join in the conversation.  By the end of the fourth week the results from the exercises compared with those of the first week were very impressive.

It also had a significant impact on my job – I am now able to deliver presentations to large of groups, join in round table discussions and know that people are now actually able to hear what I am saying.

Another benefit is on my saliva management.  I had stopped eating in public – especially in the Mess at lunchtime.  I lost count of the number of times I took a bite from a sandwich and realised too late that there was a string of saliva attaching my mouth to the sandwich.  The exercises have increased the strength of the muscles involved in swallowing.  I now remember to swallow before opening my mouth to eat, drink or speak.

Six years later and the benefits of the LSVT LOUD® programme are still evident.  The LSVT LOUD® motto is “Think Loud” and every now and again I need to remember to do this.  I practice every day, twice a day, as I refuse to revert to my pre-LSVT LOUD® speech quality.

I would highly recommend Celia as a Speech and Language Therapist; she is passionate about her work, has a genuine desire to help and is utterly focused on her specialism.  I would also recommend the LSVT LOUD® programme to anyone who is in a similar situation to my own and who is struggling with their speech.

Think Loud!    Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhh!

– GS, Surrey