Dysarthria meets YouTube

I work in a pediatric inpatient rehab setting so making therapy fun is a tricky game sometimes. Especially when teenagers and head injuries coexist. Word lists and drill only got me so far before patient and clinician motivation tanked. Enter YouTube!!! you sure saved the day! YouTube on the iPad…even better!

I’ve noticed that a lot of patients enjoy music so why not use that in Dysarthria sessions for intelligibility drills. YouTube is a treasure chest of music videos but the best part is, there are TONS of videos that have song lyrics built in. I’ve been using this in therapy a lot lately and it saves me having to print sheets of paper with lyrics. It’s also great for those moments when patients decide to change their ‘favorite’ song on the fly throwing all planning out the window. Chances are you can find the new favorite just as easily on YouTube without wasting precious therapy time. It’s also a great way to pause midsong and work on compensatory strategies like pacing, overarticulation, breath support etc without making it seem so regimented. Incorporate tapping naturally as well. I co-treated with an OT one session and she included ‘music and movement’ stuff for upper extremities. The patient was getting ready to go to church on a therapuetic outing so we worked on gestures her church used during worship.

If your patient/client has a touch device of some sort (i-device or not) that can connect to the internet it’s an easy way to send HW without worrying about printed sheets that they have to keep and bring back. One of my patients wanted to record herself singing on her device and used that as a benchmark for progress. Sky’s the limit.

Here are some songs I’ve used recently and thought I’d share. These have a devotional flavor since that’s what this particular patient and several others picked but you can find lotsa other mainstream options as well.

What Love Really Means – J.J Heller

Your Hands – J.J Heller

Changed – Rascal Flatts

Oh Happy Days from Sister Act

until the next post…sing away…

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