Neurology and Neurosurgery

Parkinson Voice Project awards grant to Norwalk Hospital

Norwalk Hospital Parkinson’s disease speech therapy program


Norwalk Hospital will receive supplies and training to support its Parkinson’s disease speech therapy program

Parkinson Voice Project has named Norwalk Hospital as a recipient of its 2021 SPEAK OUT!® & LOUD Crowd® grant program. Through the grant, Norwalk Hospital will receive supplies and training for its speech-language pathologists and graduate students who care for patients with Parkinson’s disease.

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive movement disorder and the second most common neurodegenerative disease. About 60 thousand people are diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease each year in the United States and 10 million people are living with it worldwide.

Nearly 90 percent of people with Parkinson’s disease experience speech and voice disorders, which may make them less likely to participate in conversations or have confidence in social settings.

People with Parkinson’s disease often experience swallowing difficulty, called dysphagia. Dysphagia can cause dehydration, malnutrition and aspiration, which is when food or liquid enters the airway or lungs by accident. Aspiration pneumonia is the leading cause of death in people with Parkinson’s disease.

“We encourage early evaluation and speech therapy for people with Parkinson’s disease to help them maintain their communications skills. Similarly, early swallowing intervention is important to help people with Parkinson’s disease eat safely,” said Christa Smullin, speech language pathologist with Norwalk Hospital rehabilitation services. 

“We are grateful for Parkinson Voice Project’s support of Norwalk Hospital’s robust and highly structured therapy program for patients with Parkinson’s disease. Patients have the direct benefit of supplies and staff training to treat their speech, voice and swallowing changes commonly associated with Parkinson’s disease,” said Smullin.

Parkinson Voice Project is the only nonprofit organization in the world solely dedicated to helping individuals with Parkinson’s disease to improve their speech and swallowing. Parkinson Voice Project has trained more than 3,500 speech-language pathologists through its worldwide SPEAK OUT! & LOUD Crowd program.

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Learn more about Parkinson’s disease and movement disorders at Nuvance Health.