Parkinson’s Awareness Month Week 1

April 5, 2021

Pre-Motor Symptoms and the Importance of Early Diagnosis 

The 2021 Skate-a-thon for Parkinson’s will take place at the end of April and one of the focuses of the event is not just to raise money, but to raise awareness about the early symptoms of Parkinson’s disease and the importance of early diagnosis. It will also be the first topic we talk about for Parkinson’s Awareness Month. Explore the articles, blogs, webinars, videos and other resources below to learn more.  

Pre-motor symptoms are a group of early non-motor symptoms that often precede the motor symptoms that often lead to a Parkinson’s diagnosis.  

Early Pre-Motor Symptoms:  

  • Loss of Smell  
  • Constipation  
  • Sleep disorders  
  • Depression  

Benefits of Early Diagnosis:  

  • Improve quality of life  
  • Delay disease progression 
  • Reduce symptoms  
  • Lower cost of treatment  

Improving Outcomes Through Early Diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease 
Fernando L. Pagán, MD 
“Nonmotor symptoms manifest in PD long before motor symptoms, and the early presence of nonmotor symptoms offers an opportunity for early diagnosis and early treatment of PD, with consequent benefits to patient quality of life and potential treatment cost savings.” 
Read the full article here. 

Premotor Symptoms and Early Diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease 
Charles H. Adler 
“Nonmotor findings, including hyposmia, sleep disorders, autonomic abnormalities, cognitive changes, and neurobehavioral changes, often precede the motor findings… By the time the motor features of PD become clinically apparent, there is upward of 60% loss of dopamine.” 
Read the full article here. 

The Value of Early Diagnosis and Treatment in Parkinson’s Disease  
Michela Tinelli 
“Clinical trials also suggest that early treatment can slow disease progression. Both the decrease of symptoms and the potential for slowing disease progression, have a major impact on improving patient quality of life (QoL) and reducing the costs associated ii with PD in the long run.” 
Read the full article here. 

Resources on Non-Motor and Early Symptoms 

10 Early Warning Signs
Parkinson’s Foundation

  • Tremor
  • Small Handwriting
  • Loss of Smell
  • Trouble Sleeping
  • Trouble Moving or Walking
  • Constipation
  • Soft or Low Voice
  • Masked Face
  • Dizziness or Fainting
  • Stooping or Hunching Over

Learn more

We want to know… 

What were some of your first symptoms? Looking back, how long did you experience symptoms before getting a diagnosis? 

Share your experience with us by emailing Amber at

Mission, Vision, and Values Statement

April 2, 2021

The purpose of a mission statement is to describe an organization’s purpose, support its vision, and communicate its purpose & direction to its community. It serves as a guide for creating policies, determining priorities, and organizational decision-making.

We have been working hard to redefine our mission, vision, and values to better reflect our strategy and goals. Let us know what you think!


Parkinson’s Nebraska is dedicated to improving the quality of life for all Nebraskans living with Parkinson’s and their families.


A Nebraska where all people with Parkinson’s disease feel a sense of community and have access to the programs, services, and education they need to live well.


Integrity We believe in acting honestly, truthfully, and are committed to doing what is best for those we serve. Building trust builds a stronger community.

Accountability We believe in accountability to our donors, supporters, the community, and the people we serve through transparency and a commitment to our mission. We take ownership of our actions.

Respect We believe in respecting all members of our community by recognizing the value and worth of each person. Everyone deserves to be treated with dignity.

Equity We believe in removing the barriers to equity through a commitment to diversity, equality, and inclusion in the way that we engage, learn, and serve our community. Together, our differences make us stronger.

Collaboration We believe in the power of working together to achieve our goals, combine resources, and better serve our community. We can accomplish more together than we can alone.

Three Pillars of Strong Parkinson’s Communities  

A strong Parkinson’s community is key to improving the quality of life for people with Parkinson’s and their families. Our strategy of mission achievement is built upon the Three Pillars of Strong Parkinson’s Communities:

  • Connections: We connect people with Parkinson’s to each other, to resources, and to their community.
  • Collaboration: We collaborate with communities to provide tools and resources to help them develop meaningful Parkinson’s programs.
  • Community Outreach: We increase awareness, education, and access to service through community outreach.

Find someone you can talk to and stay connected

April 1, 2021

by Dave Ciaccio, Parkinson’s Nebraska Board Chair

The third newsletter in a series covering the Parkinson’s Foundation’s “5 Steps to Living Well with Parkinson’s.”  This month’s step: “Find someone you can talk to and stay connected”.

Barbara Streisand’s song “People” starts with the lyric, “People who need people / are the luckiest people in the world.”

It recently stopped me. I realized not many of us think this way. We all like to think we’re fine without any help. We listen to the broader culture that tells us to be independent, to stay strong, to be our own person – that we don’t need anyone but ourselves.

I, for one, need help every day. Whether it’s in asking for advice or a helping hand, I lean on people all the time.

When I think about my need for people in light of my Parkinson’s, I find myself more in need of a particular kind of person. Someone who understands what it’s like to be on this journey. Who knows what today brings and where things might go tomorrow.

I’ve been lucky enough to find a few people I can talk to and confide in. It’s been important to lay aside my pride, to humble myself and ask for the help that I need. These relationships keep me connected to the community. They help me feel less alone.

Finding and working with others on the PD journey, like a stone in the water, ripples out to others in need. Ms. Streisand’s song has another lyric that makes this clear: “A feeling deep inside / says you were half but now you’re whole.” It reminds us that we’re in this together.

And that, as a person who needs people, we’re among the luckiest people in the world.

Kearney Community Action Committee

April 1, 2021

This summer, we will be working with local leaders to establish a Community Action Committee in Kearney, NE!

A Community Action Committee (CAC) is a diverse coalition of community leaders from local organizations, hospitals, universities, and more who are making a difference in their community. They play a key part in the Davis Phinney Foundation’s new Healthy Parkinson’s Communities™ initiative to help support community leaders, volunteers, and advocates in the pursuit of making the places where we live, work, and play more inclusive and supportive for those living with Parkinson’s.

The Healthy Parkinson’s Communities™ program aims to connect community members to local resources, help local leaders tackle barriers to living well, and to support the creation of more inclusive communities for people living with Parkinson’s.

The three goals of the Healthy Parkinson’s Communities™ initiative are to:

  1. Ensure Parkinson’s community leaders have the knowledge and resources they need to make a positive and sustainable change in their community 
  2. Encourage and support data-informed initiatives designed to increase access to and engagement with resources that improve the quality of life for people with Parkinson’s
  3. Work with communities to raise awareness of Parkinson’s in their areas  

CACs are led by the individuals living and working in the local communities. They are best able to determine what their community needs and identify the potential leaders and members that want to make an impact. They are the experts on their community!

We will also be working with the National Engagement Advisory Team (NEAT), a group of leaders from national companies and organizations who work to build Healthy Parkinson’s Communities together. Organizations that are part of NEAT are available to help provide local support, participate on local Community Action Committees, and more. They include representatives from Delay the Disease, PMD Alliance, Dance for Parkinson’s, Parkinson’s Wellness Recovery, and LSVT Global.

We are so excited for the opportunity to not only partner with these impactful national organizations, but also the local Kearney Parkinson’s community! 

If you are part of the Kearney Parkinson’s community or surrounding area and you would like to be involved in this conversation, please contact Amber at or call 402-210-1419.

2021 March Recap

April 1, 2021

March was a busy month! In the best way possible, of course.

Much of our efforts have been focused on organizational capacity-building. We have grown so much over the past two years and want to make sure we have the structures in place to keep up with the momentum and continue growing.  

Over the past month we have:

  • Hired a second staff member to increase our digital marketing and community engagement efforts. Amber is really excited about this!
  • Invested in a new software that combines our CRM (donor management system), email marketing, social media, and fundraising efforts into one platform. The days of spreadsheets and multiple platforms are over!
  • Invested in-home office equipment to increase efficiency and save money on printing and mailings.
  • Collaborated with Daake to redesign our website to make it easier for both us and community members to search for services, share resources from our partners, and simplify the process for updating program information. The new website is coming soon!
  • Redesigned our Mission, Vision, and Values Statement and developed the Three Pillars for Building Strong Parkinson’s Communities. This will help us effectively communicate the role we play in the community and make decisions in line with our goals.

We are so grateful to be able to focus on building capacity- and that we need to! We have grown so much over the past few years and truly a statewide organization. And it is because of amazing supporters like you. Our worked is centered around Nebraskans with Parkinson’s, their families, and the providers who serve them. We do it for you, and we couldn’t do it without you. Thank you!

Determine Your Goals and Priorities

March 4, 2021

by Dave Ciaccio, Parkinson’s Nebraska Board Chair

The second newsletter in a series covering the Parkinson’s Foundation’s “5 Steps to Living Well with Parkinson’s.” This month’s step: determine your personal goals and priorities.

Long term goals are often thrown off by more short term realities.

We’re always told that to be ‘successful’ we have to set goals that are months or years down the road.

But things change. Life happens. The unexpected comes knocking.

That was the case when I had an unexpected career decision . And when I found out I have Parkinson’s. Whatever long term goals I might’ve had suddenly looked very different.

So I try to take the events of life as they come. And to do so thoughtfully and with the advice of others. I set broader goals so I can change them as I go.

Things like ‘exercise every day’, ‘eat healthy’, ‘be positive,’ ‘help others’. This approach is particularly helpful with something as unpredictable as Parkinson’s.

By keeping these goals in mind, they eventually become priorities.

But I try to keep that in check as well. Too many goals or overly specific priorities lead to stress.

And keeping stress under control is one of those short term, everyday goals that can have long term, lasting effects.

Meet Erin Kooi, OTS

February 5, 2021

Erin Kooi, OTS is a 2021 Occupational Therapy Candidate at the School of Pharmacy and Health Professions at Creighton University. She will be joining the Parkinson’s Nebraska team this semester as part of her Doctoral Capstone. We are so excited to welcome her to the team!

She will be completing a needs assessment on the Nebraska Parkinson’s community, researching services that are currently available and identifying the needs of our community.

A word from Erin:

“Hello everyone, my name is Erin Kooi and I am joining the Parkinson’s Nebraska team as a part of my Doctoral Capstone through Creighton University. I am currently a third-year occupational therapy student anticipating graduation in May of 2021.

As part of my capstone, I will be researching and identifying services and needs of the Parkinson’s community in central and western Nebraska. I am excited to join the PN team!

If anyone is specifically interested in the work I will be doing or would have information that could aid in my work, please reach out to myself at and I will be happy to chat!”

We are so thrilled Erin chose Parkinson’s Nebraska as part of her Doctoral Capstone and are grateful for the time, dedication, and effort she is putting in to help us better understand the needs of the Nebraska PD community. Her work will greatly inform our funding priorities, community outreach efforts, and organizational strategy as a whole.

If you are a physician, therapy provider, exercise instructor, support group leaders, or person with Parkinson’s who would like to help, please reach out to Erin via email. You can share the services you provide, the services you participate in, and the unique needs of your local community. Your help will go far towards improving accessibility of services and the distribution of resources in the future.

Thank you so much for your work, Erin! Welcome to the team!

Be Active in Whatever Way Works for You

February 4, 2021

By Dave Ciacco, Parkinson’s Nebraska Board Chair

Many of you have probably heard of the Parkinson’s Foundation’s ‘5 Steps to Living Well with Parkinson’s’. These are five succinct recommendations which I have found quite beneficial. I have not implemented all five, but have it as a goal to do so.  The 5 Steps for your reference are:

  • Be active in whatever way works best for you.
  • Determine your personal goals and priorities.
  • Find someone you can talk to and stay connected.
  • Create healthy habits.
  • Find a doctor who is an expert in Parkinson’s disease.

In my next five blog posts for this newsletter, I thought I’d provide you with my thoughts on those I have implemented so far. I’ll start with “be active in whatever way works best for you”.

When I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s nearly five years ago, I found that Parkinson’s provided me with an opportunity to remain more active. I’ve always been a person who has had to ‘be doing something’ as my wife and kids always tell me, but now it’s a more purposeful busy. Exercise is my ‘offense’ against PD, while taking my meds is my ‘defense’.  Parkinson’s has given me new opportunities in life that I wouldn’t have thought possible. I’ve run a mini-marathon, taken up Rock Steady Boxing and Pickle Ball. I’ve walked the dog so many times he now hides when I get his leash. But this is me. You are only limited by your imagination in ways you too can be active. It can be simple. Do some simple stretches while you have your cup of morning coffee. Get up and walk around during TV commercials. Take two short walks a day instead of one. Less is sometimes better than more. Staying active in body, mind and spirit is key to ‘Living Well with Parkinson’s’. So I’ll close with the simple statement:

‘Be Active in Whatever Way Works for You’!

Professional Trainings

February 4, 2021

PWR!Moves Virtual Therapist Certification Workshops

Eligible Participants

Physical and Occupational Therapists, Physical and Occupational Therapist Assistants, PT, DPT, OT students

Registration Fees

$650 per person   |   $625 for groups of 2-4 | $350 for students

Virtual workshops fill up fast! Here are some of the dates that still have availability:

March 27-28

April 3-4

May 1-2

Learn more and register for the Therapist Certification Workshop here.

PWR!Moves Virtual Recertification Workshops

Eligible Participants

Physical Therapists, Occupational Therapists, Physical Therapy Assistants, and Occupational Therapy Assistants who have completed another PWR!Moves Therapist Certification Workshop within 36 months of the Therapist Recertification workshop.

Registration Fees

$300 per person

The recertification course is offered via Zoom on the following dates:

February 20-21

April 1

Learn more and register for the Recertification Workshop here.

Rock Steady Boxing Affiliate Training Camp

Affiliate Training Camp is a two-step program – coaches must complete an online course (Tier 1), followed by an interactive virtual or in-person training (Tier 2). This training is for locations that do not currently have an Affiliates license and are looking to start a new Rock Steady Boxing program, or to add an additional Affiliate license holder to an existing program. There must be at least one trainer with an Affiliate license per location.

The Tier 1 training is a self-paced, all online training. This must be completed before registering for the Tier 2 training. Tier 2 trainings are offer 1-2 times per month and dates can be found on their website here.

Registration Fees

$899 for new affiliate license | $699 for for existing affiliate program

Affiliate Program Fee: $800/year per location

If you are interested in starting an affiliate program, please contact for the next steps. Or learn more on their website.

Online Coach Certification

The Online Coach Certification provides the opportunity for affiliates to train additional coaches. This option is only available to staff at current affiliate locations. Coaches who only take the online course will not be able to open a new Rock Steady Boxing location.

Registration Fees

$399 per person

Ready to register? Contact Jenny Parker, Affiliate Specialist, for information at Visit their website to learn more.

Online LSVT BIG™ Training

The Online LSVT BIG Training and Certification Course trains physical and occupational therapy professionals and students in an evidence-based, intensive treatment protocol for individuals with Parkinson disease. Course syllabus can be viewed here.

Eligible Participants

Physical and Occupational Therapists, Physical and Occupational Therapy Assistants, and students enrolled in those programs.

Registration Fees

$580 Professionals   |   $300 Students   |   $200 Previously Certified Clinicians

This training is offered on online, ongoing, and on-demand. Learn more about the Online LSVT BIG™ Training and register here.

Delay the Disease Training

The Delay the Disease training provides evidenced-based updates on the effects of exercise and physical therapy on the symptomatic management of Parkinson’s disease (PD). Each participant will be able to integrate this knowledge, along with teaching techniques to create and lead a comprehensive, community-based, PD-specific exercise program based on the Delay the Disease fitness agenda.

Eligible Participants

Physical and Occupational Therapists, Physical and Occupational Therapy Assistants, RN, AT, exercise professionals, and Exercise Physiologist.

Registration Fees

$280 per professional

This class has online offerings. To learn more and view the upcoming training dates click here or email

Eligible Participants

Physical and Occupational Therapists, Physical and Occupational Therapy Assistants, RN, AT, exercise professionals, and Exercise Physiologist.

Registration Fees

$280 per professional

This class has online offerings. To learn more and view the upcoming training dates click here or email

Delay the Disease Recertification Course

This course is designed for the healthcare professional and fitness trainers who have taken the original Delay the Disease 10 hour CE course more than two years ago. The original CE course must be recertified every two years. 

Eligible Participants

Physical and Occupational Therapists, Physical and Occupational Therapy Assistants, RN, AT, exercise professionals, and Exercise Physiologist who have taken the original 10-hour Delay the Disease course.

Registration Fees

$50 per professional

The Recertification Course is offered online. To learn more and register click here or email

Dance for PD Training

The Dance for PD® training program is divided into two courses (tracks) to allow for facilitators and trainees to focus on specific skills that are relevant to their backgrounds and interests. Each training course has its own objectives and accreditation sequence.

Eligible Participants

Qualified and experienced dance teachers are eligible to take the Dance Teacher course. Other individuals without dance training can take the Educational and Professional Enrichment course.

Registration Fees

$379 Introductory & Advanced Workshop   |   $1,500 one-time certification

$65 annual membership   |   $25 renewal every two years

This trainings are offered online. To learn more about the Dance for PD training, click here.

The Online LSVT LOUD Training and Certification Course is a program designed to train speech-language clinicians in a voice/speech treatment technique for adults with a specialty in Parkinson’s disease. Course syllabus can be viewed here.

Eligible Participants

Speech-Language Pathologists, Speech-Language Pathologist Assistants, and students enrolled in those programs.

Registration Fees

$580 Professionals   |   $300 Students   |   $200 Already Certified Clinicians

This training is offered on online, ongoing, and on-demand. Learn more about the Online LSVT LOUD™ Training and register here.

SPEAK OUT® & The LOUD Crowd® Training

SPEAK OUT!® & The LOUD Crowd® is a therapy approach developed by Parkinson Voice Project that combines education, individual speech therapy, and ongoing group sessions to help people with Parkinson’s improve their speech and voice. The online course is a professional “video presentation” that provides training on conducting a speech evaluation with stimulability testing, individual therapy (SPEAK OUT!), group sessions (The LOUD Crowd), and clinical documentation.

Eligible Participants

Speech-Language Pathologists, Speech-Language Pathologist Assistants, and students enrolled in those programs.

Registration Fees


To learn more or register for the SPEAK OUT!® & The LOUD Crowd® online training click here.

The Parkinson Voice Project Grant Program

The Parkinson Voice Project also offers a grant program. Any speech therapy clinic in the world that has reliable internet service may apply for a grant, including university clinics, hospitals, private practices, etc. The grant program aims to make quality speech treatment accessible to people with Parkinson’s. Grant sites receive free SPEAK OUT®, LOUD Crowd®, and Teletherapy training for as well as speech therapy supplies and funding for LOUD Crowd® groups. The deadline to apply for a 2021 Grant is March 1, 2021.

Learn more about the Parkinson Voice Project Grant Program and apply for a grant here.

Parkinson’s Nebraska Scholarship Grants Available!

At Parkinson’s Nebraska, we are committed to strengthening the Parkinson’s community and increasing access to specialized services across Nebraska. We want to make it easy for physical, occupational, and speech therapists to become trained in Parkinson’s programs to provide the highest quality care to the people with PD they work with each day. We have Scholarship Grants for certified therapists and students to attend trainings and become certified providers. Please contact Amber at to learn more and apply for a Scholarship Grant.

2021 Parkinson’s Nebraska Supported Programs

January 8, 2021

We are so proud to support these programs and providers (and more!) that are impacting their communities across Nebraska. These exercise classes, support groups, educational, and recreational programs help people with Parkinson’s improve quality of life and connect with others.

Live IT Up!– Tuesdays and Fridays via Zoom

Fitness and Beyond, L.L.C.– Omaha, NE/Virtual classes

Strength and Balance- Monday & Wednesday virtual & in-person

Alignment, Breathing, & Control- Tues & Thursday virtual & in-person

Parkinson’s Nebraska Support Group– 2nd Saturday of every month at 2:30 pm via Zoom

Parkinson’s Nebraska and PDWELL Education Series– 4th Wednesday of every month via Zoom. Time varies.

Parkinson’s Nebraska Community Outreach Program– Coming to two communities in 2021!

Art, Music, and Dance Program– Coming August 2021. More details to come!

PDWELL: A Parkinson’s Therapy, Wellness, and Resource Center– Waterloo, NE/Virtual exercise, support, and educational programs

Norm Waitt YMCA– S. Sioux City, NE

Delay the Disease- Mondays and Wednesdays 11 am- 12 pm CST

Parkinson’s Support Group- 2nd Monday of the month at 12:15 pm

Norfolk Family YMCA– Norfolk, NE

Dance for Parkinson’s- Program coming soon!

Support Group- Program coming soon!

Grand Island YMCA– Grand Island, NE

Rock Steady Boxing– Monday & Friday 10:30-11:45 am CST, Wednesday 11:00 am- 12:00 pm CST

Ruth Davidson Hahn & Company– Lincoln, NE/Virtual classes

Dance for Parkinson’s– Mondays at 1:30 pm CST via Zoom- Winter session (February 1st– April 5th)

Are you a program director, activities director at a living facility, professional, or community member interested in starting or growing a Parkinson’s program? Let us help you! We have grant funding available and are looking for programs to support. Learn more about grant opportunities here or email Amber Winter at