Lee Silverman Voice Treatment Program for Parkinson’s Disease Now Available at University Speech and Hearing Clinic


CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., July 25, 2003 – Beginning in September, the Speech and Hearing Clinic at Southeast Missouri State University will begin providing the Lee Silverman Voice Treatment (LSVT®) Program for Parkinson’s disease to people in the Cape Girardeau area.

The University’s Speech and Hearing Clinic has announced that Martha Cook, MA, CCC-SLP, is the first speech-language pathologist to be certified to provide the LSVT® Program here. She is one of nine certified providers in Missouri and the only certified provider south of St. Louis and east of Springfield, Mo.

Traditional approaches to speech therapy for persons with Parkinson’s disease have typically been ineffective. But Cook said the internationally recognized LSVT® approach to therapy has been developed at the University of Arizona-Tucson. Unlike previous programs, the LSVT® program has documented short- and long-term effectiveness, she said. This method of treatment is an intensive program aimed at increasing phonatory effort, helpful with Parkinson’s disease and other motor speech disorders, she said.

Facts about LSVT:

  • The LSVT® is administered on an intensive schedule of 16 individual sessions in one month. More than 400 individuals with Parkinson’s disease have been treated with the LSVT® in efficacy research studies.
  • The LSVT® program improves both voice and speech of individuals with Parkinson’s disease by treating the underlying physical pathology associated with the disordered voice.
  • Treatment focuses on improving loudness and immediate carryover into daily communication, enabling patients to maintain and/or improve their oral communication.
  • Ninety percent of patients improve from pre- to post-treatment.
  • Approximately 80 percent of patients maintain treatment improvements in their voice for 12 to 24 months post-treatment.

Cook said a perceptual and objective evaluation of speech and voice must be completed for each person to document current levels of function and confirm appropriateness of this treatment protocol. This screening is provided at a minimal charge, she said. Prior to initiating treatment, a laryngeal exam must be performed with medical clearance to rule out disease or conditions that interfere with the function of the larynx. Treatment is provided at the University Speech and Hearing Clinic through the cooperative treatment of Cook and graduate students in the Department of Communication Disorders.

Please contact the University Speech and Hearing Clinic at (573) 651-2050 or Department of Communication Disorders, MS 2600, Southeast Missouri State University, One University Plaza, Cape Girardeau, MO for referrals with the first treatment sessions scheduled for September.