Who was Daniel R. Boone, PhD, CCC-SLP?
Speaking with INTENT is the cornerstone of the SPEAK OUT! therapy program. In 2010, as the organization was developing this treatment, Parkinson Voice Project’s Founder, Samantha Elandary, reached out to Daniel R. Boone, PhD, CCC-SLP. This renowned speech-language pathologist, voice expert, and former president of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association authored over 17 books and more than 100 articles and chapters. His 40-plus-year career included appointments at Case Western Reserve University, the University of Denver, and the University of Arizona where he retired as Professor Emeritus in 1988.
In Boone’s 1983 edition of his textbook, The Voice and Voice Therapy, he described how intention and deliberation could improve the communication skills of individuals diagnosed with Parkinson’s and related disorders. He first recognized the benefits of “intent” in the 1950s while working with a neurologist at Highland View Hospital in Cleveland. Boone noticed when people with Parkinson’s counted forward, their speech could barely be understood. Their voices were soft, and they “mumbled.” But when he asked his patients to count backward, they spoke remarkably louder and clearer. An interesting fact is when patients counted backward from 10, their speech didn’t improve; but when they counted backward from 20, they could be heard and understood. Why? Because they had to focus more and concentrate. They were using “INTENT.”
Automatic Movements Versus Intentional Movements
Parkinson’s depletes dopamine production, which is necessary for automatic movements. This is why most people with Parkinson’s can struggle with speaking, swallowing, and walking. These motor movements were all “automatic” before the diagnosis of Parkinson’s and highly dependent on dopamine. Getting out of a chair, putting on a seatbelt, picking up a glass of water, and even driving a car are also “automatic movements.”
Fortunately, humans have TWO motor systems – automatic and intentional. When someone concentrates and is purposeful and deliberate, they are activating the intentional motor system which is not as dependent on dopamine. This is why it is crucial for people with Parkinson’s and their families to understand the concept of “INTENT.”
SPEAK OUT! employs Dr. Boone’s vocal strengthening exercises and teaches people with Parkinson’s to transition speech and swallowing from an automatic function to an intentional act. With INTENT, walking, writing, and other motor movements can improve, as well. As patients complete SPEAK OUT!, we hope they will generalize INTENT into all their activities and start living with INTENT. Patients, families, and close friends are encouraged to attend Parkinson Voice Project’s Learn About Parkinson’s Webinar that explains the automatic and intentional motor systems in greater detail. This webinar is offered monthly.
Parkinson Voice Project will always be grateful to Daniel R. Boone for mentoring our staff and enhancing our SPEAK OUT! therapy program. He was also instrumental in the development of our online SPEAK OUT! course that has trained thousands of speech-language pathologists and graduate students across the globe. His legacy will live on at Parkinson Voice Project.
“Thanks to Dr. Boone, the concept of INTENT has changed my life for the better. I live each day with intention, not only in speaking and swallowing, but in walking, writing, and living.” —Gay G., Dallas, Texas
Watch a testimonial video from Gay G.
Dr. Boone explains the difference between the automatic (extrapyramidal) and intentional (pyramidal) motor systems.
Dr. Boone explains intention vs non-intention in sports.
Dr. Boone talks about his discovery of intent.
Dr. Boone shares why he joined Parkinson Voice Project’s mission.
Dr. Boone explains the difference between traditional speech therapy and Parkinson’s speech therapy.
Parkinson Voice Project honors Dr. Boone.