Speech therapist rewarded for Parkinson’s work

A passionate local speech pathologist has received recognition for her work with Parkinson’s Disease sufferers for the second year in a row.

Parkinson Voice Project has named Adult Speech Pathology in Erina as a recipient of its 2021 Speak Out and Loud Crowd Grant Program.

The grant takes the form of resources and training for the team at Adult Speech Pathology.

Speech Pathologist and practice owner, Vanessa Sciacca, said she was delighted to be given the grant two years in a row.

“I am passionate about getting information out to everyone with Parkinson’s disease that there is effective treatment to help with speech, voice and swallowing difficulties that often occur.

“Through the grant system, other team members have also been trained to deliver this program to cover the whole Central Coast area or via telehealth.

“Adult Speech Pathology Central Coast is committed to offering Parkinson Voice Project’s effective speech therapy program across the region.

“The most benefit can be gained when people access the program early in their diagnosis to prevent further decline.

“We also know that ongoing maintenance is essential, so we are proud to offer our social Loud Crowd on a weekly basis as well,” Sciacca said.

Adult Speech Pathology can help with a range of issues including communication issues, swallowing difficulties, Parkinson’s Disease, voice disorders, traumatic brain injuries, and recovery from strokes.

Each therapy session is tailored to meet the specific needs of the client, working with them at their own pace to help them fix any communication issues.

“I’m extremely passionate about helping people communicate, especially people with Parkinson’s.

Vanessa Sciacca

“Everyone just thinks that people get Parkinson’s and that’s it, and they just give up, but we’re showing them that there are exercises and programs to help people with Parkinson’s communicate better.

“We’re NDIS registered so we deal with adults with Cerebral Palsy, Multiple Sclerosis, voice problems, people who have had strokes, and traumatic brain injuries, and any sort of disability.

“Loud Crowd is our weekly meeting in Gosford where four clients come to participate.

“It’s a nice small group, but I’d really like to get more people in the group.

“They start out in individual sessions and then move into the Loud Crowd,” Sciacca said.

Sciacca has over 30 years’ experience in helping clients with a broad range of communication, speech, voice, swallowing and cognitive problems, working out of her clinic in Erina.

“Communication is what makes us human, it’s our way of connecting and expression our opinions and thoughts, it’s really everything.

“I love working with people and helping people communicate and connect, and there’s no better job than that,” Sciacca said.

Parkinson Voice Project is the only non-profit organisation in the world solely dedicated to helping individuals with Parkinson’s improve their speech and swallowing.

Parkinson Voice Project Founder and CEO, Samantha Elandary, said “up to 90 per cent of people with Parkinson’s are at high risk of losing their ability to speak, and swallowing complications account for 70 per cent of the mortality rate in this patient population.

“Our vision at Parkinson Voice Project is to make our highly-effective speech therapy program accessible to people with Parkinson’s worldwide,” Elandary said.

Parkinson Voice Project hosts daily online speech practice sessions to support and encourage people with Parkinson’s to keep up their daily practice.

These sessions are freely available on the organisation’s website.

Harry Mulholland