What’s possible – and what does a stroke survivor have to do to achieve it.
That’s my reason for speaking at physical and occupational educational institutions. My objective is to give the students a look into a real survivor story.
Certainly, the Keiser University occupational therapy students are getting a stellar education at the University. And much of it is evidence-based as it should be. But stroke recovery is a very difficult area. Since there is no template for stroke recovery facilitating the students to get a glimpse of reality is a great educational strategy. I applaud Professor Therese Cinotto for this initiative which we started two years ago after meeting at a networking event.
As always, I enjoy the interactivity with the students and answering their many questions as they listened to my story of recovery. I relayed to them some of the unique coping strategies I followed to regain my independence and improve my functionality, many of which are not in books or traditional protocols.
For example, I became a participant in several clinical research studies to gain the benefit of leading-edge therapies at (BRRC) Brain Rehabilitation Research Center in Gainesville Florida, a joint venture between the US Veterans Administration and The University of Florida Medical School. The mission of the BRRC is to develop and test treatments that harness neuroplasticity to substantially improve or restore motor, cognitive, and emotional functions impaired by neurologic disease such as stroke or other injury. For the future, I encouraged them to suggest this kind of participation to their survivor clients (or their caregiver partners) after graduation when they are working as OTs.
Several of the students wanted to feel what tone felt like to a therapist. One young lady suggested that I work with a ball with my disabled right hand, which I have been doing. Professor Cinotto came up with a ball to take with me. The ball sits on my desk as a reminder to hold and squeeze it. We will see if it helps and I appreciated the suggestion.
The group was engaged – what fun!
Here are a few photos, one of the group and another of their thank you note: