Speech Versus Speaking: The Experiences of People With Parkinson's Disease and Implications for Intervention

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American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology

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Purpose In this project, we explore the experiences of people who report speech changes associated with Parkinson's disease as they describe taking part in everyday communication situations and report impressions related to speech treatment.

Method Twenty-four community-dwelling adults with Parkinson's disease took part in face-to-face, semistructured interviews. Qualitative research methods were used to code and develop themes related to the interviews.

Results Two major themes emerged. The first, called “speaking,” included several subthemes: thinking about speaking, weighing value versus effort, feelings associated with speaking, the environmental context of speaking, and the impact of Parkinson's disease on speaking. The second theme involved “treatment experiences” and included subthemes: choosing not to have treatment, the clinician, drills and exercise, and suggestions for change.

Conclusions From the perspective of participants with Parkinson's disease, speaking is an activity requiring both physical and cognitive effort that takes place in a social context. Although many report positive experiences with speech treatment, some reported dissatisfaction with speech drills and exercises and a lack of focus on the social aspects of communication. Suggestions for improvement include increased focus on the cognitive demands of speaking and on the psychosocial aspects of communication.



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