Penn Highlands Healthcare Expands Treatments for Parkinson’s Disease

The Rehabilitation Center of Penn Highlands Healthcare in Huntingdon now joins the health system’s Rehabilitation Centers in Clearfield and St. Marys in offering the Lee Silverman Voice Treatment (LSVT) therapies for people living with Parkinson’s disease and other neurological conditions.

The LSVT therapies are intense treatments to help slow the decline of speech and motor skills while helping to improve the individual’s quality of life. There are two LSVT programs – both of which are offered by The Rehabilitation Center in Huntingdon.


For the LSVT LOUD therapy, people work with a trained speech therapist to improve the common problems of disordered articulation, diminished facial expression and impaired swallowing.

This therapy uses a series of exercises to increase vocal volume by stimulating the muscles in the voice box and speech mechanism.

“We work with patients to bring their voice to an improved healthy vocal volume without strain and with better clarity,” explained Mark Seaton, ST, a speech therapist at The Rehabilitation Center in Huntingdon.

“While LSVT LOUD can be successful in people in all stages of Parkinson’s, it is most effective for those who are in early to middle stages of the condition.

“LSVT LOUD is also prescribed for people with other conditions such as multiple sclerosis, Down syndrome and cerebral palsy with positive outcomes.”


The Rehabilitation Center in Huntingdon also offers the LSVT BIG therapy which is designed to treat the reduced range and slowness of movement people with certain neurological conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease, experience. The treatment is provided by skilled physical therapists/occupational therapists.

“The goal of the LSVT BIG therapy is to help people return to a more productive life and reduce the risk of falls,” said Christine Ritchey, MOT, OTR/L, an occupational therapist at The Rehabilitation Center in Huntingdon.

“This therapy increases the amplitude of limb and body movement. This ‘bigness’ then improves speed of the upper/lower limbs, balance and quality of life.”

According to Ritchey, LSVT BIG is intensive and complex which is necessary to optimize learning and carryover into daily life functions.

She explained that one of the best times to begin the therapy is at the time of diagnosis when people are more receptive to lifestyle changes. At the early to middle stages following diagnosis, LSVT BIG may have the most impact on the quality of life.

The LSVT LOUD and LSVT BIG programs can be completed individually or together. Each program is normally administered in 16 sessions over a single month (four individual 60-minute sessions per week for four weeks) with additional visits with less intensity as needed.

For more information, visit or call 814-643-0337.

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