Gazette feature story highlights Center for Language, Speech and Hearing’s work with Parkinson's community

Ashley Higgins (left) and graduate students connect with community
members during an LSVT therapy training session in January.

June 19, 2017

A recent feature story in the Daily Hampshire Gazette highlights the Center for Language, Speech and Hearing’s voice training sessions for those with Parkinson’s disease. Communication problems are frequently overlooked by doctors but have a devastating impact on a patient’s quality of life, says Lisa Sommers, clinical assistant professor and clinic director of the center.

The story highlights speech-language pathology graduate student Ashley Higgins' voice training session with Belchertown resident Doug Adler, who was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease two years ago. [Note: Watch an example of the training session in the accompanying Gazette video here.]

Their work is part of a five-week course offered by the Center, in which speech therapy graduate students are paired with Parkinson’s patients, like Adler. The class is both to train future clinicians, but it is also a preventative measure for people early in the disease. Like most college courses, it requires readings and presentations by the students, but they also work one-on-one with patients — in Adler’s group there were 10. The Massachusetts chapter of The American Parkinson Disease Association provides funding for it.

The course is offered beginning each May at the Center for Language, Speech and Hearing, and is comprised of 10 1½-hour sessions.

Read the full Gazette story here.

Watch a related video showcasing the Center for Language, Speech and Hearing's work with the Parkinson's community below.