Lewy body disease can manifest itself in a variety of ways and can produce many different symptoms and complications. Caregivers looking after individuals with this disease should consult with their loved ones’ doctors to see if speech therapy might be helpful.
The disease often affects both speech volume and enunciation, and may create difficulties swallowing. These factors can make patients self-conscious, causing them to become increasingly withdrawn.
Benefits of speech therapy
Speech therapy and treatment can be tailored to meet individual needs. Some of the benefits include:
- Improved muscular strength of the voice production mechanisms.
- Fewer difficulties in swallowing.
- Increased speech volume.
- Improved enunciation.
- Increased self-confidence in social settings and greater willingness on the part of the patient to express himself or herself.
One speech therapy exercise which caregivers and speech therapists may wish to consider for those with Lewy body disease is “scripting.”
What is scripting?
Scripting involves creating a script for the loved one to follow in a social setting. The script should be written or printed out and should be of a length that is appropriate for the abilities of the patient, who can then practice the script with a therapist or caregiver, speaking the words out loud. This activity exercises the vocal muscles and allows the therapist or caregiver to help correct enunciation problems. When the patient is then in a social situation, such as a family gathering, he or she can utilize the script exactly as rehearsed.
Such scripts enable Lewy body disease sufferers to communicate more clearly and with fewer “stumbles,” increasing their confidence and at the same time making communication with others easier, both for themselves and those whom they are trying to reach.
As those who care for individuals battling Lewy body disease know, there are many challenges that their loved ones face. Helping them to remain connected to others socially and retain control of their speech can be important in furthering their therapy.