Human communication

Parkinson Voice Project supports education and therapy at speech therapy clinic | College of Education, Health and Humanities

The Parkinson Voice Project, a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the voices of people with Parkinson’s disease, has named UNO as a recipient of the SPEAK OUT!® & LOUD Crowd® grant program.

According to the founder of the Parkinson Voice Project, Samantha Elandary, up to 90% of people with Parkinson’s disease are at risk of losing their ability to speak. With funding from the SPEAK OUT!® and LOUD Crowd® grants, the UNO Speech Therapy Clinic at Roskens Hall offers this highly effective speech therapy program free of charge, helping clients with Parkinson’s disease improve their speaking skills. functional communication and improve their quality of life.

SPEAK OUT!® consists of 12 individual speech therapy sessions between the client and the UNO student clinician, who work together on a series of speech, voice and cognitive exercises. Clients then transition to The LOUD Crowd®, a weekly program in small groups to help maintain the strength of their voice. The LOUD Crowd® provides vocal practice, empowerment, support and encouragement to help clients maintain their communication skills throughout the progression of Parkinson’s disease.

Our graduating students put so much effort and dedication into every client we see at the clinic.”

– Lucia Scheffel, Ph.D., CCC-SLP

Assistant Professor Lucia Scheffel, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, supervises the clinic’s student clinicians — graduate students of the UN Speech-Language Pathology Program.

“Students learn about motor speech disorders and Parkinson’s disease in the classroom, but when they have experiential learning such as the SPEAK OUT!® program, it dramatically improves their general knowledge and skills,” says Scheffel.

“We know we are fortunate to preserve communication skills in people with Parkinson’s disease. We are seeing an improvement in their speech intelligibility, and teaching this to our students, while we can help customers with Parkinson’s disease, this is a real opportunity.”

The UNO Speech-Language Clinic serves community members with Parkinson’s disease with the help of SPEAK OUT!® and LOUD Crowd® grants.

Prior to therapy at the clinic, client Steve Moran had difficulty communicating in relationships. “I knew my voice had become calmer because my wife was always saying, ‘What, what, what?’ I knew I better deal with it or she’ll stop asking.

Moran wiped away tears as she described the impact of the therapy: “My wife and I went out to eat the other day, and this place was packed. It was so loud, but we were able to carry on a conversation. Also loud as it was, we could talk.

Want more information about the therapies offered at the UN Speech Therapy Clinic? Contact Mindy Woodward at [email protected] or visit the clinic’s website.


This story appeared in the latest issue of the College of Education, Health and Human Sciences Annual Report.