Speak Out!




The Northeastern University Speech-Language and Hearing Center (NU SLHC) offers SPEAK OUT!, a specialized speech therapy program for people with Parkinson’s disease and related movement disorders. SPEAK OUT! was developed at Parkinson Voice Project in Richardson, TX. In 2023, the NU SLHC was named the Massachusetts SPEAK OUT! Therapy & Research Center by Parkinson Voice Project and awarded a five-year grant to provide SPEAK OUT! therapy at no cost to residents of Massachusetts, in person or via telehealth.


What is SPEAK OUT!?

SPEAK OUT!® is a therapy regimen tailored to people with Parkinson’s disease to improve their voice. In this program, speech is transformed from an automatic function to an intentional task. SPEAK OUT! is usually completed in 8 sessions spanning four weeks, in person or via Zoom. In this four-week period, clients report improvement in their speaking, their ability to be heard, and their overall quality of life. Following this, individuals then transition to the weekly SPEAK OUT! Group to maintain their communication skills. The group meetings also serve as a source of camaraderie for the members.


I have Parkinson’s disease. When should I begin seeing a speech therapist?

Existing research indicates about 70-80% of individuals with Parkinson’s disease experience some change in voice, and about 55% experience changes in articulation with disease progression (Miller, 2012). To postpone and prevent this decline, it is optimal to begin speech therapy as soon as possible. Participation in SPEAK OUT!can change the effects that Parkinson’s disease has on your voice, helping achieve full potential.

Miller, N. (2012). Speech, voice and language in Parkinson’s disease: changes and interventions. Neurodegenerative Disease Management, 2(3), 279-289. https://doi.org/10.2217/nmt.12.15


Program Testimonials

“I was very fortunate to get connected to Professor Martin. I never thought I needed a program such as SPEAK OUT! but I was wrong. It was clear I needed help with my speech. Sessions with the students were well-planned, fun, and most importantly, helpful. The program has given me confidence to speak more clearly and with intent.

I am very pleased with the progress I have made since our first session. Thank you Professor Martin, Olivia and Sabrina.

I foresee a bright future, helping people with Parkinson’s, for the SLP grad students and SPEAK OUT! at Northeastern’s SLHC.”

-Rob Jacobson, SPEAK OUT! Graduate


“The SPEAK OUT! program at NU has helped me to retain my ability to speak coherently and with intent so that I can fully communicate and have people understand what I am saying.

All people involved with the program do a great job and I am grateful to be a member.”

-James Marchione, SPEAK OUT! Graduate


What costs are associated with these services?

At present, the pay-it-forward SPEAK OUT! program is being offered free of cost through participation in a research study investigating the effectiveness of this treatment on speech intelligibility and communicative participation. This means that clients are encouraged to make a donation to help future clients benefit from our program.

Sessions will be conducted by SPEAK OUT! trained graduate student clinicians, under the supervision of licensed and certified speech-language pathologists.


When and where can I receive services?

Please contact Elizabeth Martin, MS, CCC-SLP at the Speech-Language and Hearing Center (SLHC) at 617-373-6891 or [email protected] to obtain information regarding enrollment. All sessions occur via Zoom or on-site at the SLHC, located in the Behrakis Health Sciences Center on the Boston Northeastern University campus.

The SLHC is easily accessible from Green and Orange MBTA lines. Free parking is available in West Village Garage on campus.