Recovering Writing Skills after a Stroke

Suffering a stroke can be one of the most debilitating events in a person’s life; as the second most common cause of death in the world and a leading cause of adult disability, a stroke may cause visual and cognitive problems, as well as the paralysis of one or more limbs to anyone who survives this devastating disturbance.

Among the many activities in a person’s life which can be affected after suffering a stroke, the ability to write is something which will often require extensive therapy for a patient to regain – let’s have a look at some of the techniques which therapists use to get patients writing again…

Building a Foundation

Patients and therapists alike know that recovery from a stroke can be a frustratingly slow process – the person being treated will require a lot of perseverance to build up the skills necessary to be able to write again: even lifting a pen requires a certain degree of coordination and muscle strength;

The first step in writing begins in gripping a pen, so this is where the therapy will focus first of all:

  • Exercises involving picking up small objects, such as batteries, buttons or coins are often used to help build a patients’ skills up
  • Elastic bands are sometimes wrapped around the fingers, with the patient opening and closing fingers – this increases control of the digits.
  • Rubber balls are often used as squeezable strength-builders to help a patient re-learn how to grip.

Once an effective foundation of strength, coordination and dexterity has been laid, the patient can then build upon this to learn how to write once again…

Written Exercises

Patients who are participating in occupational therapy tasks to recover the ability to write are usually given two key areas of focus as part of the exercises they are practicing:

  • Accuracy exercises: in these type of activities, a patient is typically given a series of pages with dotted lines printed on them: these are guidelines which can be followed with the nib of a pen or pencil-tip – in this type of exercise, the level of accuracy is the most important factor to measure: the goal is not to write speedily, but with precision, so patients are encouraged to take as long as they need to accurately produce the correct character shapes.
  • Speed exercises: as the polar opposite of the accuracy exercises, patients are here given writing tasks which they are asked to complete in as rapid a time as possible – this helps to push the outer limits of what is possible at any time and to allow the patient to build upon the foundation laid by the various other exercises.

Lisa Griffiths is a therapist who is proud to witness the difference her job makes to her patients: ‘Occupational Therapy Jobs are as rewarding as they are challenging – small changes to a daily routine often make the biggest impact to a person’s life, but require perseverance.’

Comments

  1. Nikolai Adriano says:

    Thank you for this very informative article. I have realized that there can be hope after all the hardships of a person who have suffered from stroke. We can share this one to all those people who know somebody who have suffered from stroke. 🙂

  2. Jobelle says:

    Good thing there are articles like this that we can read on. My grandfather died from stroke. Never had an idea that writing skills could be affected. Any idea how much we should we pay the occupational therapists per session?

  3. Michelle says:

    This article can be very helpful for people who know someone who had stroke. Through this, they can assist their loved ones to have an optimal level of functioning after suffering from stroke. Occupational therapy is very beneficial to patients so that they can recover and return to their pre-morbid functioning if possible. Very informative!.

  4. jaclyn calderon says:

    I am a nurse and I know just how much it is hard for stroke patients to recover and go back to their old routines. Oftentimes they needed to have a therapy to regain their skills like writing. A patient who became half paralyzed will e having a hard time holding a pen, but as this article says “the person being treated will require a lot of perseverance to build up the skills necessary to be able to write again” so as an occupational therapist one should have patience and perseverance to help stroke patients regain their independent skill to write. 🙂

  5. Maricris says:

    Had been stroke is a devastating situation in one’s life, and it is too hard to recover on the pre-stroke time. But the determination of the individual is a important factor. Now a days there are many rehabilitation facilities that help individual suffered from stroke to regain their writing skills. Family members would also be a great help for them.

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