I had the pleasure of attending Speak Out! voice therapy training a few years ago. Since then the method has become an integral component of my treatment. I find myself reaching for the program materials and incorporating the techniques on a weekly basis. Speak Out! has become one of the most enjoyable CEU courses of my career and I’m happy to share my experience with the program with you.
WHAT IS THE PARKINSON VOICE PROJECT?
Parkinson Voice Project is an organization of speech-language pathologists who developed and offer the Speak Out! voice therapy program at their beautiful clinic, located in Richardson, Texas (just north of Dallas).
Parkinson Voice Project offers the Speak Out! program to individuals with Parkinson’s Disease (or Parkinson-like conditions) and the program consists of several layers.
- Individual Therapy + Daily Homework
First, participants attend 12 individual therapy sessions (ranging 40-45 minutes in length). Participants are also expected to complete daily home practice. This is essential!
- The Loud Crowd
Once the individual therapy sessions have ended – the fun truly begins!
The Loud Crowd is the ‘maintenance phase’ of the program and consists of ongoing weekly group sessions. Once trained in Speak Out!, clinicians are encouraged to form their own local Loud Crowds nationwide. Every December all members of The Loud Crowd are invited to travel to Texas to participate in the annual SING OUT! performance.
- Refresher Classes
Finally, from time-to-time a full refresher course is required to re-optimize vocal intensity.
HOW IS THE PROGRAM FUNDED?
The program offered at the Parkinson Voice Project is funded though Pay-It-Forward. No patient is billed for therapy which means no person is turned way due to lack of funds. (Say what?!) At the end of the treatment program participants are simply asked to ‘Pay It Forward’ and contribute a charitable donation for the next patient to receive free clinical or reduced services too.
EARN MORE CEU’S OR JOIN ATTEND A FREE COMMUNITY LECTURE
Parkinson Voice Project also offers live and recorded lecture series for CEUs. Check out their free lecture series here. (There is a charge to receive CEU’s but you can watch the videos for free.) If you live in the Dallas-Fort Worth area then consider attending a live community information session.
WHAT IS THE SPEAK OUT! METHOD?
Speak Out! consists of speech, voice and cognitive exercises designed to encourage individuals with Parkinson’s Disease to ‘Speak with Intent’. This means training patients to use deliberate intention when speaking vs. relying on diminishing automatic motor behaviors (secondary to the neural degeneration occurring in the disease process).
Speak Out! is an effective, motivating and highly rewarding therapy technique. I generally see improvements immediately during the first session (especially after the initial audio/visual recording as biofeedback mixed with different cue techniques. More time is needed, of course, to generalize to more complex functional interactions.
HOW TO BECOME TRAINED IN SPEAK OUT!?
LIVE: I enjoyed attending the live training course. The main facility is gorgeous and a highlight to the training was meeting Dr. Boone in person! After all, he was the author of
my graduate voice therapy textbook. Talk about an honor!
Other advantages of attending the live course:
- You get hands-on practice leading a therapy session with another SLP and with a ‘patient’ (a graduate of the program and member of The LOUD Crowd) . You won’t leave the training unsure of how to begin therapy Monday morning.
- You get to observe an example session of The LOUD Crowd. Ask questions to therapists and group members.
- You get to hang out with other fabulous SLP’s!
ONLINE: Parkinson Voice Project now offers an online version of Speak Out! training and will mail all materials to your home. You get 30 days to complete the course in your pajamas – this is definitely a great deal and eliminates travel expenses.
All clinicians receive a free therapy kit heaping with tons of materials to facilitate individual and group therapy.
SLPs who attend Speak Out! training receive 1.0 ASHA CEUs (10 hours!) at the Intermediate level.
WHY I LOVE SPEAK OUT! (Oh let me count the ways…)
Yes, I am LSVT-LOUD certified however my services are limited due to the standardized structure of the program. In my current setting all therapy sessions are 45 minutes in length, ranging 3-5 days per week. LSVT specifically requires 4x weekly 60 minute sessions. Also, the average length of stay in my hospital ranges 2-3 weeks so a course of LSVT-LOUD is rarely completed.
1. Speak Out! is a flexible voice therapy program that encourages functional loudness and cognitive-linguistic skills simultaneously (working memory, divergent thinking, problem solving, etc.).
2. After you complete training, every patient that you provide Speak Out! therapy to is eligible to order a FREE workbook for daily practice. This daily homework is essential to encourage consistency in their home exercise program for maintenance in their daily environment.
3. Speak Out! also encourages using SLP’s to use best clinical judgment and adjusting the program according to the needs of the patient. This flexibility, in turn, allows for very a patient-centered approach (vs. the rigidity that can sometimes accompany program standardization).
Perks ALSO include – Free listing as a Speak Out! provider on the website. Free access to private Facebook Group. Free access to downloadable materials online.
4. The training manual comes equipped with data collection sheets, evaluation and discharge templates so that you can hit the ground running immediately after training. There are also>20 lesson plans which makes treatment a breeze.
5. Parkinson Voice Project is a non-profit organization. As in, these clinicians work extremely hard to raise awareness for this patient population and give services away for FREE. Support them
6. Patients LIKE Speak Out!and are encouraged to practice at home. The free workbook provides fresh activities and can be completed over and over again. Caregivers can assist without the burden of thinking of what to do.
WHAT DOES A SPEAK OUT! SESSION LOOK LIKE?
- Warm Up Exercises (Sustained Phonation ExercisesPitch Glides Numerical Sequences)
- Reading Material Hierarchy (words, phrases, sentences and paragraphs of gradually increasing length and complexity)
- Cognitive Exercise (thinking + loudness – where I see the most breakdown with carryover for my patients and therefore is the most rewarding component in my opinion)
- Discussion (how will you Speak with Intent today? – more carryover, planning and self-monitoring)
*I tend to incorporate LSVT functional phrases/script training into my sessions as well*
So, in summary…
Speak Out! is a highly recommended training program for clinicians who provide voice therapy to individuals with Parkinson’s Disease or Parkinson-like conditions affecting vocal intensity and carryover of vocal loudness into conversation. Thanks for taking the time to read through my perspective of the highlights and benefits from the program!
Please feel free to message me or leave a comment below with any additional questions or information. Have you attended Speak Out! training? What did you think about it?