Fayetteville, Ga. (May 12, 2014) – When John Francis-Nettles was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, a progressive disorder which affects mobility, exercise became a critical part of his treatment plan. Without it, Francis-Nettles’ joints could stiffen so he began therapy at Piedmont Fayette Hospital’s Fitness Center to help maintain his muscle strength and improve flexibility.
Not long into his new fitness regimen, Francis-Nettles’ wife Betty realized she was having difficulty hearing her husband talk because his voice was becoming softer. Francis-Nettles’ physical therapist, Andy Thomas, recognized this as a symptom of Parkinson's and recommended he enroll in the Lee Silverman Voice Treatment program, a standardized speech protocol used to help patients like Francis-Nettles.
"Patients with Parkinson's disease often have trouble speaking and swallowing," said Katie Harris, CCC-SLP, supervisor of speech and language pathology at Piedmont Fayette. "The Lee Silverman Voice Treatment program has demonstrated significant success in helping Parkinson's patients maintain their communication skills."
Delivered by a certified speech language pathologist, the Lee Silverman Voice Treatment program consists of 16 individual, one-hour sessions over the course of one month. Treatment focuses on improving vocal loudness, immediate carryover into daily communication and improving oral communication.
“By the end of the treatment course, Mr. Francis-Nettles’ voice had improved drastically,” said Hayley Crawford, CCC-SLP, Francis-Nettles’ speech-language pathologist at Piedmont Fayette. “We would take therapy sessions outside to challenge him with background noise and he would do just fine. Even staff around the fitness center commented to me that they had noticed he sounded much louder.”
"Hayley gave me exercises to make my voice stronger," said Francis-Nettles. "She taught me lots of tricks that helped and I always leave the sessions with a positive attitude."
For more information about speech therapy and the Lee Silverman Voice Treatment program at Piedmont Fayette, call 770-719-7290 (option 1) or visit piedmontfayette.org.