Wednesday, February 22, 2017

5 Awesome Apps Perfect for Parkinson's Therapy Sessions

Using Apps to Treat Parkinson's Disease

Did you know?  

  • Parkinson's affects up to 1 million people in the U.S.
  • More than 10 million people worldwide are living with Parkinson's Disease
  • Doctors diagnose as many as 60,000 new cases each year
  • Parkinson's strikes 50 percent more men than women
  • The average age of onset is 60

Parkinson's disease is a progressive, degenerative disorder of the nervous system that affects movement. Sometimes it begins with a tremor in the hand and then will worsen over time to affect other limbs, mobility, balance, coordination, speech and swallow. 

Though there is no cure, treatments and therapy (Physical, Occupational and Speech) can help treat symptoms.  

Here are five nifty apps that can be incorporated into the treatment sessions of people with Parkinson's.

#1:  YouTube

Scientific studies are clear:  the healthful benefits of music are numerous.  
  • Music reduces stress, depression, anxiety and pain  
  • Music enhances memory
  • Music treats seizures
  • Music promotes brain healing and recover after injury
  • Music helps to organize movements in patients with Parkinson's

This video was shared on Facebook a few weeks ago ... it is a must watch! If you haven't seen it already, please take a few minutes to watch it in entirety.  It is remarkable!  

The main characters are Anicea Gunlock, an Oklahoma Physical Therapy Assistant, and her patient Larry. Watch how music streaming from a smart phone made a huge difference in this patient's walking.  Seeing is believing!

As a Speech Pathologist, music can help target volume, breathing, intonation, rhythm and pace.  Use music from YouTube (or any other music app- Pandora, Spotify, etc.) in one of your next therapy sessions... and prepare to be amazed!

#2: Metronome


People with Parkinson's often struggle to control their rate of speech.  A fast rate of speech seriously reduces intelligibility – especially when speaking with strangers.The metronome has been used as a method to help people who speak too quickly to regulate (slow) their rate of speech and to increase their intelligibility.  

Incorporate a metronome app to make sure that rushes of speech are a thing of the past.  Then sit back and enjoy speech that is slower and easier to understand.

 #3:  Speak Up Parkinson's

The Speak Up for Parkinson’s app is a useful tool for Parkinson’s patients to practice their speech. The approach used in the app pays special attention to the volume of the patient’s voice. 

Practice tools are included, a volume meter is provided and audio/video feedback is available. The app also provides helpful Speaking Tips and other valuable information. 

Speak Up for Parkinson's is an interesting addition your therapy toolbox. Give it a try!

#4:  Swallow Now

Excess saliva in the mouth can be an unpleasant and embarrassing problem for people with Parkinson's Disease. Swallow Now is an app that enables people who are having difficulty with management of saliva to receive an external prompt to swallow at predictable intervals. 

Swallow Now can be set to vibrate or emit a tone at preset times. With regular use, the Swallow Now app promotes a more frequent, automatic swallow pattern and reduces the potential embarrassment of drooling

Download the Swallow Now app and begin increasing your patient's self awareness of drooling and promoting the self regulation of regular saliva swallows.

#5:  Voice Recorder

Making recordings of a person with Parkinson's before, during and after therapy has many benefits:
  • Provides immediate feedback to your patients regarding their speech understandability
  • Gives opportunities for self assessment of voice, speech, and intelligibility
  • Helps document progress over time
  • Enables patients and family members to hear progress- builds confidence and maintains motivation
  • Allows sharing of data with others
  • Lets you perform quantifiable measurements on a variety of speech parameters

Provide auditory feedback in your next Parkinson's treatment session and help your patient increase awareness to improve their overall communication effectiveness.

If you have questions or need help managing Parkinson's for someone you love, Spontaneous Speech is available.   

Working with a Speech Language Pathologist can:

  • improve speech understandability
  • boost vocal intensity
  • enhance memory
  • increase swallow safety

Call today to for a free consultation:  361-271-1700. We're ready to help!  In the meantime, please like and share this post with anyone you know that may benefit.  

It isn't the mountains ahead that wear you out, it's the pebbles in your shoe.
Mohammad Ali