Updated: Sep 29, 2020
It can be hard for a busy clinician to keep up to date with new apps. Technology moves so fast! We’ve been doing some of the groundwork for you.
April is Parkinson's Awareness month so we have compiled a list of the speech therapy apps we find most useful for people with Parkinson’s Disease.
We have chosen apps that focus on 3 of the main areas that clinicians who work with individuals with Parkinson’s Disease will typically be addressing in therapy: rate control, vocal loudness and swallowing.
The apps may also be of benefit to individuals who have what are often referred to as the Parkinson’s Plus conditions; Multiple Systems Atrophy (MSA) and Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP). To view the apps listed below on the AppStore, simply press/click the title of the app.
Clients with Parkinson’s Disease often speak too quietly and have difficulties communicating effectively as a result. Many will need intensive voice therapy such as the evidence-based Lee Silverman Voice Therapy (LSVT). Some clients especially those who have previously completed LSVT may benefit from a visual representation of how softly or loudly they are speaking in order to help them to maintain therapy gains / a louder voice
Unfortunately this app does not provide visual feedback on vocal loudness unlike the LSVT Companion Software (for use in LSVT sessions). The app provides some education on what clients could achieve by completing the LSVT training. It also allows certified LSVT clinicians to create digital homework logs to track patient/client progress through LSVT Loud Therapy.
Loud & Clear addresses the specific changes in a person’s voice that Parkinson’s Disease (PD) can cause. Its protocol leads the person with Parkinson’s through warm-ups and exercises to help them recalibrate their voice in 20-minute sessions. The app is not intended to replace voice treatment from a Speech Language Pathologist/ Speech & Language Therapist. It is best used as a companion-piece for individual’s with Parkinson’s who are currently in voice treatment or have recently completed a voice therapy such as LSVT or Speak Out.
Speech Prompts measures volume and visually represents it with a rising and falling traffic light colour block (yellow, green and red). One of the great things about this app is that you can adjust what is considered an acceptable volume range and choose where each level starts and ends. You can choose a bear graphic if using the app with young children or emoticons or plain words for older clients.
This free app allows the patient/client to video-record themselves saying words or phrases, reading aloud or having a conversation. It has a volume target zone which turns green when the person is loud enough to reach it. The downside of this app is that you really do have to speak very loud to reach the green target zone. However, it is good for encouraging increased vocal effort and the video-recording can be used for client feedback on articulation, intelligibility and facial movement.