Deborah Nin, MA,

In February 2019, DBS Support Group featured a presentation by Deborah Nin, MA, CCC-SLP, a Speech-language pathologist at the Parkinson’s Institute (PI). As the PI waits for new offices to be built, the PI, formerly in Sunnyvale is now in Mountain View near El Camino Hospital.

Nin gave us an introduction to some voice exercises familiar to her clients. We tried to use shouting effort to achieve conversational loudness saying “Ah” with mouths wide open. We did an “Ah” glide where we stepped up our vocal register, as if we were singing falsetto. You might call it a “Barry Gibbs” maneuver.

Nin conducts one-on-one assessment sessions to evaluate each patient’s current level of functioning with patient’s individual’s goals. To get an appointment with a speech therapist, you first get a referral from your doctor. You may also want to see an Ear, Nose Throat doctor (ENT) before you visit the speech pathologist to make sure that you don’t have issues with your throat. Prior to going to a speech therapist, your dental checkup should be up to date because oral hygiene is important for healthy swallowing function. Teeth should be in good repair for chewing and establishing good oral hygiene. Your dentist may provide tips to combat dry mouth (xerostomia) that is common with polypharmacy, the side effects of taking multiple medications.

Nin assembles a voice handicap index to see where her clients are in speech and how they compare with other people. After she has completed a thorough assessment, she suggests a treatment plan.

Nin is a nationally recognized member of the American Speech and Hearing Association (ASHA) and licensed in the state of California as a speech-language pathologist. She holds a master’s degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders (MA) from the University of Central Florida and a bachelor’s degree in CSD from the University of Florida. Her experience includes skilled nursing rehabilitation for short-term and long-term patient care. She facilitates the PD Choir with Paul Price on the first Thursdays of the month.

Nin is certified to provide therapy for patients with Parkinson’s Disease with the Lee Silverman Voice Treatment LOUD program. She co-facilitates the Parkinson’s Disease Self Efficacy Learning Forum, California’s first skills workshop for people newly diagnosed with PD and their care partners.

Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) surgery has left me with pronunciation issues. My chief word terror is “community.” I have panic attacks trying to negotiate how I’m going to pronounce the lovely word of fellowship.

I identified with one of Nin’s experiences involving a patient who had trouble pronouncing polysyllabic words. Nin worked with him through several improvement techniques including tapping out the syllables as he spoke the syllables. 

Stumbling over a word like “community” isn’t the only speech problem that challenges people with Parkinson’s. Nin participates in continuing education specializing in swallowing, voice, aphasia, and other courses.

Whether you have slurred speech, breathy harsh voice, intonation, pronunciation, or swallowing problems, its’s a relief to hear Deborah Nin say, “Regardless of why you have a speech problem, there’s a therapy to treat it!”

Contact Deborah Nin at dnin@parkinsonsinstitute.org or phone her at (650)770-0201, and fax at (650) 770-0204.

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