May is Better Hearing and Speech Month, and all month long, speech-language pathologists and audiologist will discuss and promote the importance of communication, connection, and health.
When I am asked: “why did you become a speech-language pathologist?” My answer involves a winding route via nursing, my first career. But now, over 30 years in practice, it ‘s much easier to tell you why I LOVE being a speech-language pathologist, and that is because for me, there is nothing more worthwhile and life-giving than to help people regain or maintain their ability to communicate and swallow.
For years when working in a hospital setting, I stood at the bedside of patients sharing in their family’s joy when their loved one was able to speak again following a lengthy illness which may have included days on a ventilator, and, I have stood at the bedside of others when a disease has robbed them of their ability to speak and helped them express their final wishes as they near the end of their life.
On a much more personal level, I witnessed the impact of Parkinson’s on my father’s speech and swallowing function, and I helped to care for my mother after she suffered a stroke and incurred severe aphasia, only to witness first-hand several months later, the miracle of her recovery of language.
Parkinson’s – Communication – Relationships
If you, or someone you love, have Parkinson’s or a related diagnosis, you are most likely no stranger to difficulties with communication and/or swallowing. And while not everyone has motor speech symptoms early on in the disease, we all know that Parkinson’s is a sneaky disease, and even when you aren’t aware of changes, they are most likely occuring. Once someone has motor speech symptoms, they can include problems such as low voice volume, speech rate which is too fast, or difficulty finding the words to express oneself.
But, beyond the obvious motor speech changes that might be attributed to Parkinson’s, changes in the way you communicate can also have a negative impact on the relationships you have. Some people with PD might elect to drop out of conversations when the constant need to repeat or focus on speech feels too tiring, and when this happens, communication partners are often left feeling lonely, missing the type of verbal interaction that brings some emotional glue to relationships.
Join Me for the Discussion
This month I will be providing two presentations on the topic of Parkinson’s and Partner Communication. An in-person presentation will be held May 14 in Port Charlotte, Florida. The sponsor is NeuroChallenge Foundation and you can register on their website: https://www.neurochallenge.org/sarasota-parkinsons-special-events.html
On Wednesday May 18, at 1pm Pacific time, I will be joining SmartXPD for an online discussion. Visit their website to register or learn more: https://www.smartxpd.com/parkinsons-life-discussion-group/
Both presentations are free of charge, but you are encouraged to register early.
Graduate Student Scholarship * Thank you to all that applied!
April 30, 2022 was the deadline for this year’s student scholarship applications, and as in previous years, over 100 speech-language pathology graduate students found their way to my website. I will be selecting a recipient by the end of the month and you can watch back here for an announcement.
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