Job Description: Communication Partner
Part-time considered-Full time preferred.
- Must be able to communicate with voice that is at least 70dB at a social distance.
- Must be able to hear and process language accurately.
- Must be able to retrieve words and formulate novel messages.
- Must be able to communicate in a variety of settings, some fast-paced, and with background noise.
- Must possess strong interpersonal skills, including use of appropriate facial expression and body language.
Hiring for the following locations: Home, in the community, support group meetings, with family and friends, physician’s office.
If the job description above seems silly, it was prompted by a job posting I saw for the Walmart distribution center. It was a job working in shipping and receiving and one of the requirements was to be able to lift 50-60lbs, including overhead, consistently. While some people might be capable of lifting 50 lbs 1-5 times, having do it repeatedly throughout an 8-hour day would require a significant level of strength and fitness.
When individuals with Parkinson’s enroll in a speech therapy program, whether LSVT® LOUD or SPEAK OUT! they are enrolling in an exercise program designed to strengthen voice use. And, while most patients may be able to generate a loud “ah” at a specific target loudness for 10 seconds or more when coached in therapy, using that same amount of effort throughout the day when conversing with others will be difficult for many people unless they create opportunities for practice beyond the therapy setting. In addition to focus on vocal intensity, some patients must also focus on the cognitive-linguistic aspects of communication, such as word retrieval. And all therapy participants, regardless of individual goals, must have adequate hearing to be able to process information accurately whether engaged in a one:one conversation or in a group.
Most speech therapy protocols developed for people with PD are designed to be intensive 30-day exercise programs. But what must also take place in that 30 days of therapy is the creation, or at least, beginning, of a new speech and voice habit, and we know from the voice research, that generalizing what is being practiced in therapy to the real world can be difficult for many voice patients, both with and without Parkinson’s.
For people with Parkinson’s (PWP), in particular, when challenged with the multitude of skills required to be a successful communication partner, continued focus and self-monitoring of speech production may be difficult, and one result might be continued re-enrollment in out-patient speech therapy, without sustained benefit.
What Can You DO to prepare for the day-long job as a communication partner?
- Enroll in out-patient speech therapy and learn a program.
- Join a community-based class such as LOUD Crowd,® LOUD For Life, Speak Easy 4 PD.
- Identify a work-out buddy. A friend or another person with PD who will get together one or more times a week to practice.
- Utilize a home-based guided program such as: Hi-VOLT® 4 PD or Speak UP for Parkinson app.
- Take you’re Hi-VOLT® bracelet with you and re-calibrate during the day. Stay loud enough to activate the light, and others will hear you.
Voice Aerobics® Participating Events
Meet me in Orlando at the Parkinson’s Brain and Beyond Conference sponsored by Advent Health. The program is free for all attendees. Visit their website to see the full day agenda and to register: https://www.adventhealth.events/event.cfm?id=6962
My MissionTo 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