During Better Speech and Hearing Month (May), Melody OuYoung, manager of speech therapy at Keck Hospital of USC, educates passers-by in the hospital cafeteria about speech and language services her program provides. OuYoung offers informative pamphlets as well as samples of thickened liquids designed for patients who have trouble swallowing.

The Little Tokyo Parkinson’s Disease Support Group meets Saturday, Feb. 23, from 10 a.m. to noon at Union Church, 401 E. Third St. (at San Pedro Street) in Los Angeles.

The guest speaker will be Melody OuYoung, manager of the Speech Pathology Department at Keck Hospital of USC (formerly USC University Hospital). She started the hospital’s Adult Swallowing and Voice Disorders Clinic and has successfully treated Parkinson’s patients to prevent aspiration pneumonia and improve their quality of life when eating and speaking.

Members, their families and friends, and any interested individuals are welcome. For more information, call (213) 629-3876 or email english@unionchurchla.org.

Parkinson’s disease is a slowly progressive movement disorder, characterized by tremors of the arms and legs, stiffness of the muscles, and slowness of movement. There is no known cause or cure for the illness, though constant advances in medicine and surgery have helped many to live and cope with Parkinson’s symptoms.

The Parkinson’s Disease Support Group of Little Tokyo is a community outreach program of Union Church and welcomes all regardless of faith or ethnicity. It meets on the fourth Saturday of every month in the church’s Fellowship Hall. Persons with Parkinson’s disease, their caregivers, and families gather together to learn more about the illness and new developments in its treatment. They also find out how to cope with disorder by sharing common experiences and relationships with family and friends.

Meetings activities include guest speakers, low-intensity exercises, group discussion, information on upcoming Parkinson’s-related events, and refreshments.

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