I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease at the age of 60. It took approximately 18 months to get confirmation that I had PD.

Over this period of time I began to lose my confidence, not only talking in company but also answering the telephone. I got to the stage that I would rather be a listener in company than participate in conversations.

I started to feel locked into myself, not wanting to socialize with friends.

When talking, the first response I heard back was “What did you say?”  This was due to my voice quality.  My main symptoms were reduced volume, lack of intelligible speech, and monotonous tone.

Knowing that I had to help myself to try and improve my voice quality, I contacted Celia, and from my first visit with her, she had me believing that I would soon be able to talk once again clearly and enjoy the company of other people.

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

Each session was a series of voice exercises, measuring the volume, the pitch and the length of time I could hold certain sounds.  I had to practice 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 could see that I was making clear progress. My husband noticed that I was speaking more clearly, and more loudly.  I was now being heard and started to become more confident and happier, enjoying once again company with friends and no longer being scared to answer the telephone.

As the weeks progressed, my confidence improved, and it was showing in the results of the exercises.  What a difference four weeks can make!

I was now speaking freely to friends, and not being asked “What did you say ?”

Celia was very professional throughout the four weeks sessions. There were times when I became emotional, finding the exercises hard to complete, but Celia just gave me encouragement, and by the end of those sessions I always left feeling that I was improving.

Its early days yet, but benefits of the LSVT LOUD® programme are evident.  The LSVT LOUD® motto is “Think Loud” and there are still times when I have to remember to do this.

I would highly recommend anybody who has Parkinson’s disease, and has communication problems, to seek out Celia as a Speech and Language Therapist.

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.  I have purchased the LSVT LOUD® Home Edition computer programme which enables me to practise my exercises at home, with the goal of maintaining my volume and intelligibility.

I have now finished my four week course with Celia, but know she is always on hand if needed. I know I can contact her to arrange an appointment for any extra sessions at any time in the future.

Please do not suffer in silence, get help and support!

-MB, Newbury