Thinking Loud Leads to More Talking for St. Lawrence Man
March 11, 2016
HURON, S.D. – Jim Keeter had become a man of few words over the last several years since being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, which often led to conversations with loved ones ending in frustration.
Keeter, who moved to St. Lawrence from Oklahoma about a year ago, struggled to be heard and understood because he had lost the sensory awareness of how loud or soft his voice actually was. “I would talk and think that I was speaking loudly and clearly,” said Keeter. “Friends and family just kept saying ‘huh and what’ and we all ended up frustrated.”
That is until his daughter-in-law, Chris Keeter, saw an article last fall in the paper regarding Lee Silverman Voice Therapy (LVST) being offered at Huron Regional Medical Center to help those suffering the voice effects of Parkinson’s.
Kris Gohn, speech language pathologist, is certified in the LSVT LOUD® treatment which focuses on improving vocal loudness and immediate carryover into daily communication enabling patients to maintain and improve their oral communication.
“As a coping mechanism, Jim would have to be face to face with a person in order to be heard and understood,” explained Gohn. “We needed to work on helping him to ‘think loud’ when he spoke, exaggerating his movements and voice.”
Earlier this year, Keeter began meeting with Gohn four days a week for 60-minute sessions. Therapy included reading out loud for 15 minutes while a computer measured the strength of his tone and volume of his voice; prolonged voicing; leaving voicemail messages for Gohn; and visiting for fifteen minutes each day while making sure his voice projected and could be understood.
Prior to starting the LOUD program, Keeter also worked with HRMC Physical Therapist Susan Fuerst for LSVT BIG® which addresses large movements of the body for daily tasks.
“I’m so very happy with Jim’s progress overall,” explained Gohn. “His confidence in speaking and the smile on his face when he talks to me say it all.”
“The program has just made a world of difference for me,” said Keeter. “My granddaughter can hear me cheering as she plays basketball for Miller and my sister-in-law calls me regularly on the phone just to hear my voice.”
For more information about HRMC's LSVT BIG or LSVT LOUD programs, ask your provider to refer you to HRMC rehabilitation services or call (605) 353-6201.
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