Speech Pathology Week: 7th – 13th August
Speech Pathology Week seeks to promote the speech pathology profession and the work done by speech pathologist with the more than 1.1 million Australians who have a communication or swallowing disorder that impacts on their daily life.
Communication is a basic human right and Speech Pathology Week seeks to promote this fact.
Speech Pathology and Parkinson’s
Difficulty with swallowing and speech can be some of the early signs of Parkinson’s disease and can be a warning that the neurological pathways that control movement are beginning to fail. This is due to death of nerve cells in the brain that produce the neurotransmitter Dopamine. Dopamine is needed for normal, coordinated movement. Speech changes can present as a faster or slower rate of speech, a decrease in clarity/articulation of sounds and words, or a change to fluency so that it sounds like a stutter. For this reason, people with Parkinson’s can often be mistaken for being intoxicated, especially if this symptom is coupled with the changes in gait and postural instability. As with any medical condition, it is advisable for people with Parkinson’s to utilise medical alert devices, such as those available for phones, watches, bracelets, or wallet cards, such as the one provided by Parkinson’s Queensland. If you would like one of these cards (pictured below), please call the Parkinson’s Queensland office on 1800 644 189.
A speech pathologist can be beneficial for assisting People with Parkinson’s in maintaining their quality of life. For more details on where to find a speech pathologist in your area, in particular speech pathologists that have experience or expertise with Parkinson’s, please refer to our Health Professionals Map.
For more information on Speech Pathology and Speech Pathology Week, go to Speech Pathology Australia.