NATIONAL STROKE ASSOCIATION
TYPES OF REHABILITATION
There are three primary means of rehabilitation.
Physical therapy (PT) helps restore physical functioning and skills like walking and range of movement. Major impairments which PT works on include partial or one-sided paralysis, faulty balance and foot drop.
Occupational therapy (OT) involves relearning the skills needed for everyday living such as eating, toileting, dressing and taking care of oneself.
Speech language pathology is another major rehabilitative therapy. Some stroke survivors are left with aphasia, an impairment of language and speaking skills in which the stroke survivor can think as well as before the stroke, but is unable to get the right words out or is unable to process words coming in. Aphasia is usually caused by a stroke on the left side of the brain. Speech language pathology can teach the aphasic stroke survivor and his or her family members methods for coping with this frustrating impairment. Speech language pathologists also work to help the stroke survivor cope with memory loss and other “thought” problems caused by the stroke.
Vision Therapy (VT) Many stroke survivors have visual problems following their strokes. To be able to see well, the brain and the eyes have to work together. Because part of the brain is damaged in a stroke, vision problems can be partial or complete loss of sight. Stroke survivors may also experience blurred vision, confusion or difficulty in performing visual activities, and eye strain. For stroke survivors with vision problems, it’s harder to go back to work or even perform simple household tasks. As soon as possible after a stroke, stroke survivors should have a complete eye exam to find out if their eyes are healthy. This exam will uncover any stroke-related vision problems. Opthalmologists or optometrists are important members of a stroke patient’s rehabilitation team. They can diagnose specific problems and recommend a treatment plan. Different types of vision therapy are available to retrain, strengthen, or sharpen vision following stroke. One new form of therapy, NovaVision VRT(TM), uses a computer-like device to help improve eye sight after stroke. The goal of the therapy is to train healthy parts of the brain to perform the work of the part of the brain damaged by stroke. According to research, neither the age of the patient nor when the stroke occurred makes a difference in the effectiveness of this type of therapy