In addition to a frequently "too soft" voice, Kate has also been bothered by the loss of expression in her voice. Her home answering machine has a recorded message from a number of years ago, and when I hear Kate's voice on the machine, the descriptive words that come to mind are: "sweet, and lilting and expressive." Return of that "expression" has been one of Kate's speech goals this past year. A suggestion I made to her some time back was that she begin to read children's books. In particular, I am a fan of Dr. Seuss, the original rapper, as his books and poems are filled with so much fun rhythm and rhyme.
I do not like that Sam- I- am
Do you like green eggs and ham?
I do not like them Sam-I-am
I do not like green eggs and ham!
And, so, Kate, approaching her speech and voice practice like she approaches most things in her life began a daily ritual of reading aloud. She has pushed her voice through the calisthenics of daily training. Pitch up, then down, softer and louder, adding facial expressions for emphasis and interest, all the little nuances of speech that came much more easily and automatically before a diagnosis of PD. But the book I received in the mail this week, "On The Night You Were Born,", is the real testimonial of her hard work. The message of the words, of course, touch my heart, but it's really Kate's voice that brings those words alive, and if I didn't know better, I would think it was the same voice on her home answering machine!
You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself in any direction you choose.
You’re on your own.
And you know what you know.
You are the guy who’ll decide where to go.
~ Dr Seuss
visit Kate's blog: http://katekelsall.typepad.com/