I have a telehealth patient that self-referred to me approximately five weeks ago requesting voice treatment for some symptoms related to Parkinson’s disease.
Each visit, we review progress, and then typically get right to work. I always know a little bit about the person I’m working with with regards to their family, profession, or hobbies, so that whatever we’re doing in therapy will transfer into meaningful home practice and be relevant to their everyday lives. If someone has a language disorder such as aphasia, they may not be able to share details of their life, and my only referent point will be the person I meet when they come for treatment, and the information shared by a spouse or other family member.
Yesterday, my voice patient shared her biography with me that she had composed for a writers group. I discovered that she is a published author, a mother of five, a gardener, and a trail guide. Her face lit up as she told me about her books and experiences. Nowhere in her biography did it mention Parkinson’s.
Parkinson’s happens to be a medical condition that she has acquired along her life’s journey, but clearly, it is not a strong feature in her biography.
As therapists, we necessarily focus on diagnosis, symptoms, and problems, and we can sometimes lose sight of the whole tapestry of an individual’s life. Patients too, sometimes overly identify with their Parkinson’s diagnosis and and lose sight of all that they are and all of the accomplishments and various roles they play in their lives.
Communication plays such a big part in what we reveal about ourselves, and I am grateful that I have the opportunity to help patients retain or improve those skills and that they entrust me with their care.
Please visit my private practice page to learn more about programs and services offered, including telepractice.
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