30 Years of LSVT Training: Empowering Therapists, Transforming Lives!

As we celebrate our 30th anniversary of the first LSVT Training and Certification Course, it is a compelling time to reflect on the origins and impact of our work. Rarely in neurorehabilitation has a treatment approach spanned the depth and breadth of research and global clinical implementation that LSVT Global has achieved. Collectively this work supports our mission of “Changing Lives with Proven Therapies.

I love this approach.  There is something special about a treatment technique created by therapists and trained by therapists that really gets to the heart of the matter- how to make meaningful, functional, and lasting change.  It’s perfect, and the course was presented in the most logical and user-friendly manner I’ve experience in my 23 years as a therapist!

-LSVT Clinician

LSVT Training and Certification – WHY?

When Dr. Lorraine Ramig and her colleague Carolyn Mead Bonitati developed LSVT at the Lee Silverman Center for Parkinson’s disease in Scottsdale, Arizona in the late 1980s, they took a very different approach to conventional speech treatment. The innovative concepts they developed for treating speech in people with Parkinson’s included three key elements:

Target: Vocal loudness (amplitude)

Mode: Intensive, high effort treatment

Calibration: Retraining sensory perception of normal loudness for people with Parkinson’s

These concepts remain core to both LSVT LOUD speech therapy and LSVT BIG physical and occupational therapy today. 

In the early 1990s when initial clinical reports were published and papers presented, speech-language pathology (SLP) professionals and students wanted to learn the treatment protocol. And so, the very first LSVT Training and Certification Course was taught in Lubbock, Texas on June 25-26, 1993. 

As Dr. Ramig and her colleagues began to publish positive efficacy data from randomized controlled trials on LSVT, supported by funding from National Institutes of Health (NIH), the desire to learn LSVT only grew. 

Fast forward 30 years to today and we have a suite of LSVT treatments including LSVT LOUD speech therapy, LSVT BIG physical and occupational therapy, LSVT LOUD for KIDS speech therapy, and our exercise groups LOUD for LIFE and BIG for LIFE. 

There are over 300 publications (peer-reviewed articles, book chapters, books, abstracts) spanning randomized controlled trials, cross-system effects, physiological mechanisms of change, neuroplastic changes, application beyond Parkinson’s, and more. This body of work includes contributions from multiple research laboratories, countries, and languages around the globe. 

At the very heart of our LSVT Training and Certification Courses is the goal to preserve the fidelity of the treatment delivered under the name LSVT so patients receive the same efficacious treatment published in the research studies. As we transfer our science to clinical practice, we must ensure the quality of treatment matches the research (i.e., treatment fidelity). 

LSVT Training and Certification – HOW?

Our LSVT Training and Certification courses have evolved over the years. We started with in-person courses in the USA, added international training, developed online courses, and created virtual live options during the pandemic. 

Innovation in technology, updates in research, and responsiveness to course feedback allows us to constantly update and improve courses. Training is our passion and at the heart of how we improve as many lives as possible for people and families living with communication and movement disorders.

Here are a few captivating statistics:

  • 65,000 clinicians (SLP, PT, OT) around the world have been trained.
  • Those clinicians have been from a total of 73 countries.
  • In-person courses have been taught in 28 countries.
  • 813 in person or virtual-live courses have been conducted: 470 LSVT LOUD courses, 343 LSVT BIG courses.
  • The top 5 countries outside of the US that courses have been taught in are:
    1. Germany – 68
    2. United Kingdom – 30
    3. France – 25
    4. Japan – 24
    5. Australia – 19
  • Online Training and Certification Courses were launched in 2009 for LSVT LOUD and 2014 for LSVT BIG.
  • 22,152 clinicians have been trained online – allowing us to greatly expand our training outreach. 
  • Courses have been taught in English, Spanish, Chinese, German, Japanese, Italian, French, Portuguese, Greek, and Turkish. 
  • Treatment materials are available in over 20 languages.

As our research and insights on LSVT advanced, we understood that to accomplish our goal of making sure individuals with PD receive the same efficacious treatment published in the research studies, we must deliver excellent clinician training. We committed to excellence in training and continually evolved new and better ways to help clinicians learn LSVT.  We did much thinking and growing in our efforts to improve training and frankly it was thrilling when we identified a great way to bring ‘ah ha’ clarity to clinicians.

– Dr Lorraine Ramig Ph.D., CCC-SLP, Chief Scientific Officer and LSVT Co-Founder

LSVT Training and Certification – IMPACT

Improved Patient Outcomes: LSVT’s impact can be seen in the improved outcomes and quality of life for individuals with Parkinson’s and other adult and pediatric neurological conditions worldwide. 

Mike, LSVT BIG graduate & BIG for LIFE member
Gary, LSVT LOUD graduate & LOUD for LIFE member

Professional Training: This training equips clinicians with the knowledge, skills, and confidence to effectively deliver LSVT LOUD and LSVT BIG, expanding the pool of qualified practitioners who can provide these treatments.

One of the things that I really appreciate is the ongoing support from the researchers and the experts in LSVT LOUD. So, I have not felt alone in delivering it even though I’m in solo private practice.

– Lyssa Rome, MS, CCC-SLP, LSVT LOUD Certified Clinician

Student Training: By receiving LSVT training, students gain exposure to evidence-based practices, enhancing their ability to provide high-quality, research-driven care in the future.

LSVT LOUD student training in action. Harding University student Parker Smitherman provided the Tonga word for LOUD as she conducted an LSVT LOUD stimulability session with an individual in Zambia, helping him to be heard as he sang the National anthem. Harding University SLP students and faculty have been providing therapy services in Zambia since 2009 as a part of a six-week summer clinical practicum course. LSVT LOUD training added an enhancement this year!

International Collaboration: LSVT LOUD and LSVT BIG have fostered collaboration among clinicians, researchers, and organizations worldwide. The dissemination of LSVT has facilitated global networking and exchange of knowledge and experiences.

A significant bonus of delivering LSVT training is meeting wonderful clinicians and students in the US and abroad. Their commitment to helping improve speech and quality of life in individuals with PD and other disorders is of great importance and of great pride for our profession.

– Dr Lorraine Ramig, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, Chief Scientific Officer and LSVT Co-Founder

Awareness and Advocacy: LSVT Global has contributed to raising awareness about Parkinson’s and the importance of specialized treatment. By highlighting the impact of LSVT LOUD on communication and LSVT BIG on mobility and function, the program has fostered advocacy efforts, increased public understanding, and encouraged earlier diagnosis and intervention for individuals with Parkinson’s.

The global impact of LSVT has been substantial, expanding treatment accessibility, providing professional and student training, generating scientific evidence, fostering collaboration, improving patient outcomes, and promoting awareness of Parkinson’s. There is, however, much work left to be done to achieve our vision of delivering global access to treatments that inspire hope and transform lives. We look forward to the next 30 years!