Research shows that 89 percent of people with Parkinson’s disease (PD) experience speech and voice disorders, including soft, monotone, breathy and hoarse voice and uncertain articulation. As a result, people with PD report they are less likely to participate in conversation, or have confidence in social settings than healthy individuals in their age group.

Speech disorders can progressively diminish quality of life for a person with PD. The earlier a person receives a baseline speech evaluation and speech therapy, the more likely he or she will be able to maintain communication skills as the disease progresses. Communication is a key element in quality of life and positive self-concept and confidence for people with PD.

The Flathead Valley is fortunate to have speech therapy programs specifically for people with Parkinson’s.

There are two locally trained Parkinson’s Voice Project speech therapists located in Whitefish. If interested, contact Ashley Franz at ashleyfranz@whitefishtherapy.com or 406-862-9378. Additionally, they offer a weekly “Loud Crowd” session as follows:

What: LOUD Crowd® free, weekly group sessions where SPEAK OUT! exercises are performed and participants practice speaking with intent. The LOUD Crowd® provides accountability, camaraderie, education and support.

Who: Anyone with Parkinson’s who is interested in supporting voice clarity. If you have not yet completed SPEAK OUT! Training, please contact Ashley (862-9378) for instructions prior to attending.
When: Weekly on Tuesdays from 1-2pm.
Where: The Springs (Montana Room), 1001 River Lakes Pkwy, Whitefish, MT 59937

There are also locally trained LSVT LOUD therapists at the Logan Health Center and can be contacted through their Outpatient Physical Therapy program at 406-751-4520.

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