Calling all angels, calling all angels
We’re tryin’, we’re hopin’
We’re hurtin’, we’re lovin’
We’re cryin’, we’re callin’
‘Cause we’re not sure how this goes

This morning, I decided to leave the television off and take a break from the Corona virus news which seems to have us all consumed at the moment. We are all collectively realizing how interconnected and interdependent we are, and are being tested to call upon our better angels to care for ourselves and our fellow women and men. As I look out the window every day at the beautiful Florida sunshine, it helps me acknowledge that this too, along with any news being broadcast, is also a part of my present reality, and it helps to keep me focused on the present moment.

As a break from the news, I have also been listening to alot of music. This morning, it was the best of KD Lang, whose beautiful voice always brings me to tears. Music has a way of evoking the strongest emotions in us, and has even been demonstrated scientifically to improve social connections and mental health outcomes such as reductions in depression and anxiety. Music has also been used to help people recovering speech and language after a stroke and Finnish researchers who studied individuals post stroke found that speech and cognitive recovery was hastened by having the individuals listen to music. One of the reasons offered why patients may recover better when listening to music has to do with the release of dopamine. (J Cogn Neurosci. 2010 Dec;22(12):2716-27. doi: 10.1162/jocn.2009.21376. Music and speech listening enhance the recovery of early sensory processing after stroke).

So, if you are spending more time than usual at home this week, why not try singing everyday? You can find almost any song you like along with the lyrics on youtube, and it’s something you can do alone, with your spouse, or with your children. Our voices are the instruments we humans are blessed with. So, even if yours is a little out of tune, dust it off, tune it up, and let music bring some joy and comfort into your life this week.

Calling all angels, calling all angels
Walk me through this one, don’t leave me alone
Calling all angels, calling all angels
We’re tryin’, we’re hopin’, we’re hurtin’, we’re lovin’
We’re cryin’, we’re callin’ ’cause we’re not sure how this goes (Jane Siberry)

If you would like to sing along with a beautiful rendition of Calling All Angels just click on the link below 

Free Communication Tools for Hospitalized Patients

I read this week about patients dying alone in hospitals because families cannot be at their bedside, and it has evoked memories of the last week of my mother’s life, which was spent at home, with me and other family members. She had periods of high anxiety that were only calmed by our presence and re-assurance, and for that reason, her passing, I believe was peaceful. My heart breaks for those people who will die alone, and for the health care providers who will also carry the grief of loss.

The Patient-Provider Communication Forum, with support from the United States Society of Augmentative and Alternative Communication (USSAAC), who anticipate the surge in patients who will be intubated and unable to speak, has developed a variety of communication boards and strategies which are now available to the public for free on the PPC Forum website.

Voice Aerobics and Telepractice

While Centers for Medicare(CMS) has not yet approved payment for telepractice by speech-language pathologists, we are hopeful that this will change soon. Telepractice can allow therapists to provide speech, language, and swallowing therapy to patients who are recovering from illness or who are living with a neurodegenerative disease and undergoing out-patient therapy as a preventative strategy to resist decline in function. Online Coaching is currently available and may help you optimally use any product obtained from Voice Aerobics. Please visit the Voice Aerobics website to learn more and to view the family of products designed for guided practice at home or wherever you go, including Songbirds, fun speech practice set in music.

Charlotte County LOUD Crowd meet this week Online

Last Thursday, I hosted the weekly LOUD Crowd using the ZOOM web platform. Not everyone was able to figure out how to join the meeting, but for those who did, I think you will admit is is pretty cool. In fact, it felt like we were in the room together just as we always are on Thursday afternoon, and being able to see AND hear yourself may help to improve your own speech perception. So, check you email for this week’s invitation, and contact me ahead of time if there is something I can help you with. I will also be sending along some additional instructions kindly provided by the Parkinson Voice Project.

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

Voice Aerobics the heART and Science of Voice Practice