As we get ready to put another year behind us, we will all probably spend at least a little time thinking about what we might do differently in the upcoming year. If you are someone with Parkinson’s disease or a related diagnosis, you and your significant other might want to read a new book written by a former patient of mine and her spouse.

Our Parkinson’s Disease Instruction Manual was written by Edmund Smith and Jane Masterson and was born out of a popular presentation they frequently offered in which they provided suggestions for how to live well with PD. Ed, a scientist, engineer and inventor, and Jane, who spent 30 years in retail as a buyer, share their 25-years of experience since living with Jane’s diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease. A thirst for knowledge and determination to live well despite a PD diagnosis is the theme of this book with 24 chapters covering topics that include: How to get great medical care, learning from others, exercise, drugs, electronic gadgets, tricks to unfreeze, speaking loudly and clearly, vacationing, and making the home PD pet friendly.

How to have a good life while coexisting with Parkinson’s disease is available on It can be purchased as a digital download or as an 8 ½ x 10- inch printed book. The digital version can be read on a Kindle, tablet, computer, or smartphone. The digital version costs $4.95 or, if you have a Kindle Unlimited subscription, there is no charge. The printed version costs  $11.95 plus tax.  Visit:

Are You Doing the Right Speech Practice for Your Symptoms?

If there is anything I could tell you about Parkinson’s disease, it would be that every patient is different. And, while there are some common characteristic motor and non-motor symptoms that lead to a diagnosis, every person will ultimately have a different experience of living with PD.

Now, that shouldn’t come as a total surprise, because WE ARE ALL DIFFERENT.

So, I think that we must exercise some caution as therapists if we adhere to a “one size fits all” sort of approach to therapy. While there are several approaches that have research underpinnings demonstrating their effectiveness, effectiveness for one person may not be the same for another.

And, if your specific motor speech symptoms are not responding to the approach that you are doing, then, perhaps a different approach is needed.

Too often I meet patients that previously participated in speech therapy elsewhere but report little benefit. Or, I have met a few patients who tell me that they don’t think they need speech therapy because they vocalize while in boxing or other exercise class. Finally, I meet patients who tell me that they “practice” every day, but their speech doesn’t reflect it, leaving me to wonder: “are they doing the right practice for their symptoms?”  

Vocalizing while in a boxing class or other exercise class may be fun, but it may not reflect voice use during conversational speech when loudness is only one element of complex multi- tasking which includes processing information, formulating thoughts and speaking clearly enough for others to understand you. Practicing every day without feedback to help you judge the efficiency of your practice may lead to a disappointing outcome. If you live alone, you may have limited opportunities to shift from “practice” mode to speech use in every-day conversation.

I can honestly tell you that I rarely have any two patients that are alike. Stage of disease, motor speech symptoms, cognition, and motivation will all factor in to how someone responds to treatment. So, therapists must remain flexible in their approach to treatment. With YOU, the patient, as our ultimate guide!

Help your patients walk, talk and stay loud. Hi-Volt 4PD Voice-on-light. A calibrated voice activated feedback bracelet that goes wherever your patient goes - making voice practice affordable, portable and fun!

When acoustic data was analyzed for 98 Parkinson’s patients at the time of an initial speech/voice assessment, the Hi-VOLT® yield a change that was statistically significant and perceptually audible. Try it today!             

Results of the Parkinson Alliance 34th Survey “Memory and Emotional Health in Parkinson’s Disease” is now available to view.

Memory and emotional health are key elements to well-being and quality of life. While memory functions and emotional health are independent concepts in our day-to-day experiences, they are strongly related and can have a significant impact on our worldview and our function at home, in the community, and in the workplace. 444 participants with PD completed the survey. Approximately 70% of the participants reported having memory difficulties that interfere with day-to-day activities. Depression and anxiety were also prevalent for the participants, and individuals with anxiety and depression reported memory problems in far greater frequency than those individuals who did not experience emotional disturbance. The relationship between memory, emotional disturbance, and quality of life are discussed, and effective memory strategies and coping behaviors are also outlined in this report.

To read the full report visit:

Happy New Year

My Mission: To enlist individuals in their treatment, and help them express their personality & spirit through voice. To educate  and empower. Mary Spremulli, MA, CCC-SLP * FiTOUR® Group Exercise Instructor * Voice Aerobics® A Whole Body Approach to Voice Practice

Voice Aerobics the heART and Science of Voice Practice