Course Report: 1st Speech and Swallowing in Parkinson's Disease School - Marseille, France

Faculty and participants gather at the 1st Speech and Swallowing in Parkinson's Disease school held in Marseille, France, in September 2017. The MDS-ES 1st Speech and Swallowing in Parkinson’s Disease School was a two-and-a-half-day school that took place in Aix-en Provence, France at Laboratoire Parole et Langage August 31-September 2, 2017.

The course was chaired by Dr. Serge Pinto of Laboratoire Parole et Langage and Prof. Francois Viallet of Centre Hospitalier du Pays D’Aix, both located in Aix-en-Provence, France.

In addition there were eight faculty:

  • Cyril Atkinson-Clement (Aix-en-Provence, France)
  • Michelle Ciucci (Madison, WI, USA) 
  • Miguel Coelho (Lisbon, Portugal)
  • Hanneke Kalf (Nijmegen, Netherlands)
  • Anja Lowit (Glasgow, United Kingdom)
  • Caroline Moreau (Lille, France)
  • Lorraine Ramig (New York, NY, USA)
  • Elina Tripoliti (London, United Kingdom)


The main objective of this course was to provide an opportunity for speech therapists to keep informed about clinical aspects of Parkinsonism, as well as to provide the most recent knowledge about clinical management of dysarthria in PD. The first day's program revolved around speech, with sessions on how to assess and treat. In the afternoon the participants engaged in speech training sessions with three different faculty. On the second day, the participants learned how to assess and treat swallowing. Just as on Day 1, the afternoon included training sessions for swallowing therapy. The third and final day consisted of multiple lectures.

There were 16 participants who attended the school in Aix-en-Provence from nine countries: Estonia, France, Germany, Italy, Romania, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, and the United States.

The evaluations showed a great impact on the participants. The evaluations portrayed a 69% or higher change in understanding of the learning objectives; the overall average change was 89%. The evaluations noted that the patient component of the program was the most impactful. Faculty ratings were outstanding, ranging from an average score of 3.58-3.88 out of 4.

It was a pleasure to welcome participants from many countries of Europe, and even overseas, who joined for great interactions on speech and swallowing impairments, which deserve a specific attention in the field of Movement Disorders. More specifically, we considered speech in PD from perspectives emerging from both speech sciences and neurosciences, which is the key approach for enlightening the understanding and the management of speech in PD from a holistic point of view.

We were happy to create an atmosphere where faculties and participants, neurologists, speech therapists/pathologists, speech- and neuro-scientists shared thoughts, competences and experiences on both consensual aspects and new topics to be further explored. We believe that all participants enjoyed this MDS-ES 1st Speech and Swallowing in Parkinson’s Disease School, and we would like to thank again all participants and faculty for their enthusiasm, dynamism and willingness to share.

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