Lee Silverman Voice Training gives patients a sense of empowerment


The world is so uncertain. We live every day, usually hoping for things to come or not come. We often spend our time worrying about things we cannot control. At worst, Parkinson’s can be a dark stranger taking little things away from us every day, or at best, a pain in the ass which we have to cope with. A disease that is incurable leaves few options of what you can do. Our family has chosen to try and do all we can do.

We know that through exercise, I can lessen my symptoms, and research tells us that it can also slow the progression of the disease. So, this weekend I had the privilege to work the LSVT (Lee Silverman Voice Training). BIG people in a certification training session for Physical Therapists and Occupation Therapists.

This program is specifically designed to address movement symptoms of PD. There we 80 participants who were learning about this method, hoping to become certified. I was asked to be a patient in a typical therapy session, so the trainees could observe a session with a live patient. A gross understatement would be that I had fun. Imagine me having a captive audience to show off to, while being fully “on meds.”

By the end of 30 minutes I was in a full sweat and ready to go home. The trainer had taken me out of my comfort zone as he coached me to perform “bigger.” Cecily and I left and went home to relax and prepare for the next day.

The second day was an open presentation of the LSTV product to the local PD community. I had distributed the flyer to members of our support group and five of us were there. The program notice included a presentation on the program followed by a session where the newly trained therapists could work with actual patients, which I thought was a great idea. I was pleasantly surprised when all our group volunteered to be training patients. Expecting to be able to closely watch how our group did, I found my trainers (8 of them) enthusiastic about having a shot at Bob. As each one had their chance to show me an exercise, their enthusiasm drove me to a “bring it “attitude, which led to a very high-level session. All the time all of my trainers focused on my performance and condition in a controlled environment. We even worked on my golf swing. After a few practices I thought I was Freddy Couples (on crack). Only after seeing the video did I realize that the visuals did not match my mind’s eye. (I had two spotters.)

At the end of the one-hour session, we duplicated performance tests and I found that I had achieved a 50% improvement in flexibility and speed. Only then did I have an opportunity to observe other members of our group. Regardless of symptoms, every test subject was showing significantly improved movement. It was truly a moving and exciting moment for all of us, including the trainers.

Patients came away with an enormous sense of empowerment. There was something we could do. It would not be easy, but we had choices. It was a BIG moment.

So regardless of what you choose to help you push back the daily mudslide of Parkinson’s, you have choices. Choose now, be a warrior.

TWO BIG SHOES ON AGAIN

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About bobharmon49

Parkinson’s Cure Research Funding, Inc. (“PCRF”) was founded in November, 2010 as a non-profit corporation dedicated to raising money for Parkinson’s disease research and patient support. The corporation’s main fundraising event is an annual golf tournament held in April at the Lake Ashton community in Winter Haven and Lake Wales, Florida. Proceeds from the event have been donated to the Michael J Fox Foundation. Prior to forming PCRF the first golf tournament was held in April 2009 and we raised $12,000. The second tournament in April 2010 raised $27,000. Our next tournament will be held on April 7, 2012. At each of the first two golf outings, 215 players filled the two 18 hole golf courses at Lake Ashton. PCRF was founded by Bob and Cecily Harmon. Bob was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2006 and is still very active playing golf and working to help find a cure for PD through fund-raising. He has recently been named to the Southwest Florida Regional Council of the Michael J Fox Foundation. Their mission is to drive ideas about local engagement opportunities to increase Parkinson’s Disease awareness, enhance education efforts and connect with untapped resources to develop the overall expansion of the Fox Foundation in Florida. The Harmon’s facilitate the Lake Ashton Parkinson’s Outreach Group which supports local Parkinson’s patients and their care partners. The group meets on the first Friday of every month at 10am at Lake Ashton and is open to the Parkinson’s community in the general public.

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