PMD Alliance Ecosystem©

The Therapy Network

We want to highlight the five unique networks that make up our Movement Disorder Care and Support Ecosystem© . Each network plays a valuable role in supporting the person with the movement disorder, and we could do not this important work without them.

The Therapy Network includes allied health professionals – our physical, speech and occupational therapists, in addition to nutritionists, social workers and counselors. This group is invaluable because caring for the whole person empowers someone impacted by a movement disorder to do more than survive – it empowers them to live fully!

To download an interactive full size PDF version of our Ecosystem©, please click below. Please note, to view the pop up descriptions the PDF file must be opened in Adobe Acrobat app and not viewed in your browser.

PMD Alliance Ecosystem©

Movement Disorder Patient Ecosystem©
Parkinson & Movement Disorder Alliance, 2020
Do not use or reproduce without approval from PMD Alliance

Who makes up the Therapy Network?

Physical Therapist (PT)

The goal of PT is to improve independence and quality of life by addressing motor symptoms through strengthening exercises, addressing muscle tightness, weakness, and pain. PT treats impairments from a biomechanical perspective with the goal of getting patients back in motion, helping with balance issues, fall prevention, lack of coordination, fatigue, and gait disturbance. Some PTs offer LSVT BIG, an intensive month-long program with documented results addressing large movements, retraining the person to use the body more normally focusing on fine and gross motor function.

Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP or ST)

Commonly called speech therapist, ST’s are an important part of the team due to the likelihood of speech and swallowing issues in PD/MD. ST can address issues of voice volume, speed of speech, breathing, facial expression, and other non-verbal communication. Some ST’s offer people with Parkinson’s LSVT Loud, an intensive month-long program with documented results that can last up to two years. ST’s also evaluate and address swallowing function as well as cognition and will support the patient by partnering with their PT and OT to develop cognitive interventions.

Nutritionist or dietitian

A nutritionist or dietitian can help by developing an eating plan that addresses food preferences, lack of appetite, eating for energy, weight loss, nutritional deficiencies, swallowing concerns, and scheduling for meals and medications. A nutritionist or dietician can assist with meal planning and use nutritional interventions to improve some symptoms, such as constipation.

Occupational Therapy (OT):

OT treats the whole person and focuses on things that occupy their life called activities of daily living (ADL’s) such as dressing, bathing, grooming and eating as well as addressing cognitive function, vision and coordination. OT can adapt activities using strategies to conserve energy, complete tasks in new ways, identify assistive devices that can improve independence, and increase participation in leisure activities. Working with an OT can help the diagnosed person find ways to maintain independence, despite increasing motor challenges. This includes offering suggestions for making the home safer, more accessible and to assist care partners with practical ways to care for their loved one.

Social Worker (LCSW or SW)

Social workers help patients and family members identify and access the available resources in the ecosystem such as those found in the community and therapy network. Social workers provide counseling to individuals and families to address adjustment to diagnosis, relationship issues and offer psychoeducational and support services.


These professionals help the patient and family address the stressors and changes caused by Parkinson disease. They may be licensed mental health therapists, licensed clinical social workers, and psychologists.


Neuropsychology is a branch of psychology that focuses on how injury or illness affects the brain and the nervous system’s influence on a person’s cognition and behaviors. Neuropsychologists can perform testing that can detect cognitive changes in PD/MD. This is important for the comprehensive management of patients as well as provide insight to the patient and family members.

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