Big and Loud Program puts the ‘LOUD’ in treating patients with Parkinson’s


Parkinson’s Disease doesn’t just affect a person’s body, but it can affect their confidence. That’s why therapists at Sanford are meeting with patients at the Wellness Center in Mandan to help.

There have been more than 25 years of research and studies proving the LSVT Big and Loud treatment is helping people with Parkinson’s.

‘Big and Loud’ combines speech therapy and physical therapy to help people with Parkinson’s communicate and move more easily.

The ‘Big’ side focuses on helping patients move faster and taking bigger steps. The ‘Loud’ side helps more with voice and speech, which makes this program unique from other Parkinson’s programs. Each patient attends classes four times a week, for four weeks.

KX News got to sit in on one of the sessions to see just how powerful the program is.

Sanford Health Speech Pathologist Karmen Steffan says, “We are basically building lung function, breath support, and strengthening the vocal cords so that when an individual does want to talk loud and want to be heard that they have the strength and breath to do that.”

Curtis Carlson was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease about two years ago, and the Big and Loud program has helped him manage his symptoms.

Carlson says, “Four days a week for four weeks and one on one with a therapist and then exercise for an hour. When I finished that then I took the voice part of it– exercising the voice.

Carlson is now in the Big and Loud graduate program which is free for those who’ve finished the beginning courses. Carlson says the graduate program keeps him refreshed with exercises and voice therapy.

“The walking especially and I walk normal with big steps now. It’s helped me a lot and I haven’t progressed any with the shaking,” says Carlson.

But what makes this program unique from other Parkinson’s program is the LOUD component.

Steffan says, “We work on the voice making sure that the pitch changes are still there to make your voice sound lively. With Parkinson’s its common with the voice to get softer and so we really capitalize on thinking loud so they communicate with friends and family so they can share their thoughts.

And for Curtis Carlson, these sessions are also a chance to connect with a community of people he now calls friends.

He says, “It’s a lot of fun and a lot of good companionship with these people that go through the same thing and I would say get on it. It’s good. It helps!”

The Big and Loud Graduate program originally started with only one member and now has grown to about 25.

In addition to helping with Parkinson’s, LSVT can also help people who have:

  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Down syndrome
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Multiple Systems Atrophy
  • Stroke

For more information, you can call the Sanford East Interstate Ave Clinic at (701) 323-6837.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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