Technology and Stroke Recovery
In 2013, I posted about a loved one who experienced a stroke. I want to update you.
For this post, I will call my family member Anna. When I saw Anna, immediately after her stroke I learned that she could not speak. As I sat there holding Anna’s hand, my mind went to how I could help her. I spoke with the doctors and learned a bit more about her situation. It was clear she had suffered a very serious stroke. However, the doctors felt she would be able to regain everything she had lost. I have a tendency to think about technology and whether it can help problems, so immediately, I started wondering, could an iPad help?
Researching iPads and Stroke Recovery
That night I pulled out my computer and started searching for iPads and strokes. The first article I came across involved someone who had purchased an iPad for a friend who suffered a stroke. Upon receiving the iPad, George (the stroke victim) started to use it immediately. He enjoyed the apps that gave him a break from the typical (and boring) exercises his therapists required. I also found an article from the Stroke Foundation about using iPads in recovery.
At this point, I was sold on the idea. As far as I was concerned, Anna needed an iPad to help her. But I knew I would have to explain to Anna’s relatives why they should get her an iPad. So I kept researching.
As I continued my search, I learned about apps that were designed to help people who suffered from a stroke. Even better, I found, there were apps designed for aphasia, or the inability to speak. This was Anna’s greatest problem.
Apps specifically designed for stroke include the Lingraphica TalkPath series. These apps assist with speaking, listening, reading and writing. Another app of great use is called SmallTalk. Further, games, such as Angry Birds, can be fun while helping a stroke victim deal with motor function. Games for children can help with learning to speak the alphabet. Matching games can help with memory. Really, the options are limitless.
Working with the iPad
I told Anna’s family what I discovered. Apparently, around the same time, Anna’s therapist mentioned that an iPad can be an excellent tool for recovery. Based on this information, the family purchased an iPad and the apps I recommended. The therapist liked the apps I suggested, and then recommended some more.
Some of the apps are expensive, but in the scheme of things, a $499 electronic device and $200 for an app are a bargain if they can help speed up the recovery of a stroke victim. Speed in working on stroke recovery is extremely important.
My Experience Working with Anna and the iPad
I visited Anna frequently, and we worked with the iPad together. We sometimes played games together, such as the already mentioned Angry Birds or Solitaire. Other times I helped her with stroke specific apps. I was always careful to let her do as much as she can, only assisting when necessary. I learned from Anna and her family that the therapist integrated the iPad into the daily stroke recovery process.
As expected, the iPad was extremely valuable in helping Anna. She actually ended up communicating directly with the Lingraphica company. That company provided her with many tools, including a tablet of its own (an Android.) She also used Skype to communicate with speech and other therapists. That iPad was the first step in using technology towards stroke recovery. It turned out to be an important step. It is extraordinary what companies can do with technology of all kinds to help victims of strokes in ways that we could never have conceived of previously. The developments during the past 2 years have been quite something to see.
If your loved one had a stroke, check with her doctors and therapists to find out if there is technology that might help her as she struggles to recover.