Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Voice Exercises Will Help Parkinson's Disease Symptoms

Choking Is No Laughing Matter

If you have trouble swallowing, being heard when you speak, breathing, seem to have excess saliva or drooling, if you are concerned about choking, you need help. There is no magic pill that can help with all of these problems if your PD has progressed to the point where you have these problems frequently. What there is for you is exercise. Repeated exercises several times a week. Sometimes we need the encouragement of friends and family to keep up the routine. For many of us we need to see or hear the exercise with a leader.

We've written several articles about these breathing, swallowing, enunciation aids, throat relaxation and in all have suggested that a friend or caregiver could read them aloud to you. We were considering taking this further when we had a note from Mary Spremulli, MA, CCC/SLP Speech Pathologist telling us that she had a DVD, VOICE AEROBICS incorporating Voice Therapy and Voice Physiology which she was offering for sale at her website. We went to her website and really appreciated what she had to say.

We viewed the tape with my sister, who has years and years of theater experience. And although we were watching to review the presentation, we found ourselves joining the class.

Here's what we really liked about the video:
1) The combination of vocal and physical exercise 99.9% of which is done seated.
2) The progression of the exercises through 3 stages with an actual break between each. (You'll want to pause the play.)
3) The advantage of seeing and hearing the instructions. Don't forget you can always pause, reverse and play again.
4) Seeing that those in her class are not those toned models but real patients who have the same goals as all PWPs
5) She uses some vocal exercises which don't translate easily to print
6) She stresses vocal support, that all important breath support
7) She creates a comforting environment and encourages your participation.
8) Whatta deal! While what she takes her class through may look easy to some, there is true professional leading this class. Brava Mary!!!
9) Almost forget - physical exercise accompanies all of the vocal/breath support exercises.

Sure there are a few sound glitches on the recording but somehow that makes it all the more real - it's not slick, it's just Mary leading a class with calming music and simple scenery out the window. And Mary sets a reasonable pace in a calm voice. As the tape progresses, she just gets better and better.

We suggest that you couldn't spend a better $20.00 (plus $3.60 shipping and handling) for a potential life saver. Mary even donates 10% of the proceeds to the National Parkinson's Foundation and to the Lee Silverberg Voice Treatment Foundation. And she offers shipping discounts in case your support group would like to take advantage of this excellent product. Mary has over 25 years of experience as a medical speech language pathologist in addition to being a licensed nurse and a national lecturer.

The run time is 59 minutes - you may want to watch it first and join in when ready. You can do 20 minute segments at a time if the hour seems too long. Use the program in a way that adjusts to your schedule and keeps you in your comfort zone to return again and again.

This is direct link to the order form

Voice Aerobics is not just for Parkinson's disease, it is very important for stroke victims, for anyone with a breathing issue, swallowing problem, or even a healthy person, caregiver perhaps, who wishes to develop a better speaking voice.


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  3. From Christina:
    Nice stuff!I look forward to reading what you're planning on next, because your blog is a nice read, you're writing with passion.Thanks a lot for being a part of it.


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