Communication tools and equipment

There is a wide range of devices to facilitate communication for people with Parkinson’s.  As reported in East Midlands RSN News No 26 – October 2015, a selection of devices was on display at the last Research Forum in Loughborough with opportunities to find out more from Caroline Bartliff, Specialist Speech & Language Therapist.

Useful communication devices of different kinds and prices include the following – with initial links for more information:

LSVT Clinician EditionThe Lee Silverman Voice Treatment – LOUD is a treatment for speech disorders with Parkinson’s

Sona-Speech – Voice analysis software with real-time displays for visual feedback of critical speech/voice parameters

Apps for loudness feedbackDecibel 10th (android and ipad) and Bla Bla Bla (ipad only)

Speech Tools (difficult to find when you search on the ipad, search ‘iphone only’ option as it might then come up).

 Audio memos or any record and playback app for extended talking or capturing speech. It enables self reflection on loudness – listening for the drop in decibel and putting that drive back behind speech.

Boardmarker activity pad – Communication aid with a microchip so different layouts can be personalised for different contexts.

SL40 A keyboard based communication aid which speaks the message typed in. Phrases can also be stored for quick access.

 AlloraAnother keyboard based communication aid but this device also has a switch and scan function.

For further information please contact Caroline Bartliff, Specialist Speech & Language Therapist, Specialist Assessment and Rehabilitation Centre at London Road Community Hospital, Derby –


  1. Following the blog on Communication tools and equipment Caroline Bartliff has alerted us to the very informative AAC barriers and facilitators review.** The abstract describes the main contribution as follows: ‘‘The review highlights the range of factors that can impact on provision and use of high technology augmentative and alternative communication devices (AAC), which practitioners should consider and address where needed in the intervention process. These include: ease of use of the device; reliability; availability of technical support; the voice/language of the device; the decision-making process; the time taken to generate a message; family attitudes and roles; other people’s responses; service provision; and the knowledge and skills of staff.”

    ** Baxter, S., Enderby, P., Judge, S., Evans, P. (2012), Barriers and facilitators to use of high technology augmentative and alternative communication devices: a systematic review and qualitative synthesis, International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders, 47 (2), pp. 115-129 –
    For an author’s pre-print version of the paper go to


  2. We’ve described here a snapshot of the resources out there. Some are professional resources like Sona Speech, which speech and language therapists can use in clinic. Apps wise, the ones discussed above are free but if people are keen for a text-to-speech app,or as a communication book/aid then apps like Scene & Heard, Pictello, Proloquo2go, the Grid player, or Predictable might help. I would always strongly recommend that people speak to their speech therapist. Some apps are free and others very expensive. Your speech therapist can help you work out the best app for your needs.

    Liked by 1 person

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