*If you suspect that you or a family member is experiencing a stroke, you must go to the hospital immediately. Once diagnosed with stroke, a rehabilitation doctor can help you coordinate services with speech, occupational and physical therapy services.

A stroke occurs when the blood flow to the brain is interrupted or severely limited, resulting in a decrease of oxygen to the brain and the death of brain cells. Strokes can occur before a baby is born. Children can have strokes.

Types of stroke include:

  • Ischemic Stroke which occurs when there is a blockage or blood clot in the brain.
  • Hemorrhagic Stroke occurs when there is bleeding in the brain.
  • Occasionally people can suffer a Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) or a temporary interruption of blood to the brain. The symptoms of a TIA are identical to that of a stroke, but are shorter in duration. If a patient experiences a TIA, an ischemic stroke may be soon to follow. 

Associated Symptoms

Symptoms seen in babies who have a stroke before birth:

  • Movement delays/deficits
  • Tightness in muscles
  • Seizures on one side of the body
  • Hand preference before 10 months
  • Other developmental delays
  • Difficulty with swallowing/sucking and feeding

Signs of a stroke typically include:

  • Sudden numbness, tingling, weakness or paralysis on one side of your body or face
  • Sudden trouble with walking or keeping balance
  • Sudden trouble with speaking or understanding
  • Sudden difficulties in vision in one or both eyes
  • Sudden severe headache

If your child experiences any of these symptoms, immediate medical attention is necessary to reduce the possibility of permanent brain damage.

Disabilities following a stroke can be temporary or permanent and can include:

  • Paralysis of loss of movement
  • Difficulty talking
  • Difficulty swallowing, eating, sucking
  • Memory loss
  • Difficulty understanding others
  • Pain
  • Changes in behavior or in self care

Description of rehab evaluation

Depending on the deficits experienced, your evaluation may include:

  • Speech and language evaluation: to assess deficits in word finding and communication, eating and swallowing and thinking.
  • Physical therapy evaluation: to assess movement deficits of the large muscles
    Occupational therapy evaluation: to assess movement disorders of the small muscles of the hand and arms, delayed development and problems with activities of daily living such as, eating, getting dresses, brushing teeth, toileting. Feeding and eating 

Common rehab treatment interventions:

  • Language treatment
  • Speech treatment
  • Cognitive skills development
  • Fine motor training
  • Gross motor training
  • Vocational skills training
  • Feeding therapy


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