Written by Cindy Charlton, Director of the Neurological Rehabilitation Center at Easterseals Colorado

Marvin at Easterseals Colorado’s Neurological Rehabilitation Center

Marvin came to the Easterseals Colorado Neurological Rehabilitation Adult Day program using a wheelchair for mobility, almost a year ago. He had had a major stroke several months previous which severely weakened his right side, and left him unable to speak (aphasia).

Since coming to the Neuro Rehab Adult Day program, Marvin has received physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, and uses the warm water therapy pool to help with his pain and muscle spasticity rendered from the stroke. He is able to walk unassisted in the pool, and with supervision around our facility. Marvin can stand up from a chair on his own accord, without assistance, and can do multiple activities of daily living with no to minimal assistance.

But Marvin’s ability to use language again, to read and understand and use simple sentences has been something to behold. Our amazing therapists here have given Marvin the tools and rehabilitation he needs to improve his deficits, and his state of being. I don’t know who was more surprised—Marvin or the therapist working with him—when Marvin greeted one of our other participants, “Hi Joe, how are you today?” while doing his walking exercises. The smile on Marvin’s, Joe’s, and the therapist’s faces lit up the room.

Aphasia is one of the most difficult things to live with after stroke. It is literally the loss of ability to understand or express speech caused by brain damage. Up to 90% of Aphasia cases are caused by stroke, and 34% of stroke survivors have aphasia. It is estimated that 2.4 to 4.1 million people in North America alone, have aphasia.

There are many types of aphasia from not being able to get the word that you want to express out “It’s on the tip of my tongue,” to global aphasia which leaves the stroke survivor with the inability to use and understand verbal and written language.

It is vitally important to know what the risk factors are for stroke, and to recognize the symptoms of stroke FAST.

Using the FAST technique could help a person having a stroke get help quickly. If you suspect that someone is having a stroke, the sooner you can get them help the better their chances are for recovery. So ACT FAST;

F: Face — Is the person’s face drooping on one side, or pulled up in a lopsided smile?

A: Arms — Ask the person to raise their arms. Does one arm drift downward?

S: Speech –Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is their speech slurred or strange?

T: Time — If you observe any of these signs, call 9-1-1 immediately.

Remember acting FAST could save someone’s life.

If you or someone you know has suffered from a stroke, click here to learn more about how our Neurological Rehabilitation Center can help. Or contact Cindy Charlton at charlton@eastersealscolorado.org or 303.953.1377 x 343.

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