Parkinson’s Disease and LSVT BIG

  Mindy DeJonge, OTR/L, LSVT BIG

When we hear the term “therapy”, most of us think of an injury and utilizing therapy to get rehabilitated from that injury.  Therapy is being utilized for many illnesses as well, including Parkinson’s Disease (PD).  Studies have proven that Physical, Occupational, and Speech Therapy can greatly help/improve functions for those who are suffering from PD.  Parkinson’s Disease is a chronic and progressive neurological disorder affecting nearly one million people in the United States.  Symptoms impacting motor skills include impaired balance and coordination, tremors, stiffness, and decreased speed of movement.  People living with PD are at risk for increased falls and may find it difficult to complete daily tasks.  Although there is no known cure, LSVT BIG is a form of evidence-based therapy that has been shown to slow motor deterioration and improve quality of life for those living with PD.  LSVT BIG Programs were developed based on the effective speech treatment program LSVT (Lee Silverman Voice Treatment) LOUD.

LSVT BIG is a standardized form of therapy delivered only by occupational therapists and physical therapists certified in this method.  Harlan County Therapy Center located at Harlan County Health System is fortunate enough to have Mindy DeJonge, certified therapist for LSVT Big.  Mindy attended classes and completed her certification in Denver, Colorado in July 2016.  Mindy is originally from Macon, Nebraska and graduated from Creighton University with an Occupational Therapy Doctorate degree in 2010.  Prior to moving back closer to home, Mindy worked at The Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, NE and has now been at Harlan County Health Systems for almost four years.

LSVT BIG treatment consists of 16 one hour long sessions, 4 consecutive days a week for 4 weeks.  Daily homework and carryover exercises are to be completed by the patient outside of therapy.  Treatments focus on amplitude or “bigness” of movement with high effort and intensity.  The protocol is customized to address the unique goals and needs of each patient.  Mindy is able to assist patients in any stage of the disease, across a wide range of disease severity and impairments.

Research about LSVT BIG has been conducted over the past 25 years with funding from the National Institutes of Health.  Results of these studies have indicated LSVT BIG patients have demonstrated improved balance, increased trunk rotation, increased walking speed with larger steps, and improvements in activities of daily living.  Currently, LSVT BIG is being delivered in almost 40 countries by over 10,000 certified clinicians.   For more information about LSVT BIG, visit or contact Mindy at 308-928-3002.  And remember to THINK BIG!





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