Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Graduating my first graduate assistants!

Well, the time has come for the first students hired as graduate assistants for the Neuroscience of Rehabilitation Laboratory to graduate. Congratulations Sarah Campbell and Nicole Williams! We miss you very much already!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Activity and Exercise Post Stroke

The AHA/ASA just released information and recommendations about physical activity and exercise after stroke.

The full article from the journal Stroke can be reached here:

After stroke, decreased physical activity, exercise, and life participation is common. This article provides guidelines for activity and exercise prescriptions post stroke. Highlights:
- Should be personalized.
- Prescription should be of safe dosage (frequency, intensity, time, type) for each individual.
- Should minimize bed rest during acute and inpatient rehab phase. At the very least, stroke patients should sit and stand at regular intervals during day.
- After medically stable, exercise schedules should meet or exceed prestroke activity/exercise levels.
- OT/PT should also include cardiovascular and strengthening exercises.
- Aerobic exercise is recommended (treadmill, cycling, stepper, water aerobics, etc.)
- Think ahead to ensure exercise and activity levels can be maintained over time
- Barriers: depression, fatigue, low interest/motivation, low self-efficacy, fear, lack of support, lack of awareness, cost, transportation, embarrassment, other health problems, fear of recurrent stroke
- Motivators/moderators: social support/social networks with other stroke survivors, professional support, group exercise classes, desire to independently perform ADLs, possibility of functional benefit (e.g., driving), enhance confidence,

"On the basis of the available evidence, it is recommended that stroke survivors undertake regular aerobic exercise to increase aerobic capacity and improve gait efficiency, thereby reducing fall risk and enhancing functional independence, as well as reducing the risk of recurrent cardiovascular events. In addition, resistance (strength) training is advocated to increase independence in activities of daily living, flexibility training to increase range of movement and prevent deformities, and neuromuscular training to enhance balance and coordination." (p. 8)

Friday, May 9, 2014

Aphasia Etiquette

Are you a friend of someone with aphasia? Have you ever wondered what you can do to improve your communication with your friend? Do you know someone who might appreciate a few pointers on communicating with individuals with aphasia? If you answered yes to any of these questions take a look at this video on aphasia etiquette, created by the UK Stroke Association.

What other suggestions do you have?

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Quotable - "shoes"

Beautiful words, spoken by a caregiver of a stroke survivor with aphasia and hemiparesis.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

For Better or For Worse: Aphasia #18

The last time we checked on Jim and his family, Jim just arrived home from the hospital, and both physical and speech-language deficits were both depicted.

Jim is sleeping in this episode, and there is a nice focus on caregiving, family, support networks.

The comment about every minute being precious after the stroke is commonly heard in interviews/discussions with survivors and their families. Invariably it leads to my own self-examination of what I think of as precious moments or precious time in my own journey, and a reminder not to wait until something bad or life-changing happens to wake me up the fact that every moment is precious and to be savored and fully lived. That moment, once it is gone, will never pass my way again.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Triangle Aphasia Project (TAP)

If you live in the Chapel Hill, Raleigh, and Durham areas (or in North Carolina at all), make sure you check out the Triangle Aphasia Project (TAP)! This organization offers a ton of wonderful group therapy opportunities, including communication groups, reading groups, and even a "return to work" group. The mission of TAP is also to serve the families of persons with aphasia, and to educate the community about aphasia. 

TAP was founded by Maura Silverman, a speech-language pathologist with a passion for the adult neurogenic population. Here is a link to the TAP story:

Neuroscience of Rehabilitation lab director Dr. Jessica Richardson (University of South Carolina) (aka JDRichSLP) and colleage/collaborator Dr. Adam Jacks from University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill have been named co-chairs for the research committee for Triangle Aphasia Project – Unlimited. They will be, along with their graduate students, completing testing (initial and annual) for all TAP clients and offering clients opportunities to participate in further studies that will advance aphasia programming.

If you are a person with aphasia, a caregiver of a person with aphasia, a speech-language pathologist who wants to volunteer time for TAP, or someone who wants to support TAP in some other way, contact them today!