Innovative Therapy at Menorah Manor Shows Great Promise for Parkinson’s

Doug Clapp, a former judge from Maine, retired in 2003. In 2008, he and his wife, Judy, moved to St. Petersburg. He was having progressive difficulties with walking and speaking. His normal, everyday life was becoming more challenging. Speaking in public had been such a joy for him and was becoming a dreaded task. All of this was happening to Doug because he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, a progressive neurological disease that affects movement and communication.

Doug went to see his doctor when he could not manage the symptoms on his own anymore and his doctor recommended therapy. Doug did some research and came across a specific program, the Lee Silverman Voice Treatment (LSVT LOUD and LSVT BIG) programs. The LOUD and BIG programs are innovative and clinically-proven methods for improving communication and movement in individuals with Parkinson’s disease, and the methods are also beneficial for other neurological conditions. Doug found that The Marion and Bernard L. Samson Nursing Center offered this program with two therapists certified in the program, Dr. Anthony Fittipaldi, Physical Therapist, and Kelly Peters, Speech-Language Pathologist.

The goals of the LOUD and BIG programs are to exaggerate voice and body movements, or for the individual to focus on the amplitude of the exercise. The LOUD and BIG programs consist of therapy sessions 4 days per week. The end result of the program is for the individual to feel the exaggerated movements and speech at a higher volume are normal. Doug started the programs in October 2015 and has seen significant improvement in the management of his symptoms. He’s gotten a huge part of his life back. He says the symptoms only show up in some of his speech and motor skills, like facial expressions and handwriting. His current LSVT LOUD program with Kelly Peters, Speech-Language Pathologist, focuses on speech patterns, syllable emphasis, and becoming more relaxed in everyday speech, so that he can enjoy everyday conversation and reduce his fear of public speaking. Doug visited his doctor and said his doctor was amazed at the results. His doctor was not aware of the LSVT LOUD and BIG programs, but says it helped so much that it allowed him to reduce some of the medications he took for the Parkinson’s disease.

Doug feels anyone who thinks they may benefit from the LSVT LOUD and BIG programs should complete them. “If you don’t [complete the programs], you’ll just deteriorate. I had reduction of symptoms [with the program],” stated Doug.

Dr. Anthony Fittipaldi, Physical Therapist, Certified LSVT BIG Practitioner, commented, “Doug was extremely motivated to reduce his symptoms related to the Parkinson’s disease, and he made consistent progress during his time in the LSVT programs. Doug made significant improvements in his balance, walking ability, and coordination, and he continues to work on his LSVT exercises at his home daily since his discharge.”

Dr. Cori Campbell, Physical Therapist, Therapy Program Manager at the Marion and Bernard L. Samson Nursing Center, says, “It has been an amazing experience to watch Doug go through the LSVT LOUD and BIG programs. It was very challenging for him to walk into the therapy gym that first day, and his wife had to help him complete his paperwork because of the Parkinson’s disease symptoms. He’s now able to walk much better, and to see the light in his eyes when he speaks now is touching. He has been committed to this program, along with both certified therapists, and the results are very visible.”