A Personal Case Study by Rosemary

A Personal Case Study by Rosemary

About 10 years ago my husband, Fen, had a severe stroke and was in hospital for 6 months. Alongside the usual range of physical disabilities, he had aphasia and was unable to read, write or speak more than the odd word over the following years. We were introduced to Speak with IT who have helped us over the years to enable him, via Step by Step and a volunteer, to ‘retrieve’ a few more words, and recognise (read) a few words.

The aphasia also means he cannot process information very easily, cannot retain information reliably, and in particular needs silence around him when he gets out of his chair or walks (with aids).

In addition, he can no longer enjoy listening to music (a great interest of his before the stroke) as sound has become a noise.

HOWEVER… things are beginning to change since he started using the new upgraded Step by Step software a few months ago.

Not only can he do the exercises much more easily but his day to day interaction with people and general things improved considerably.

Regarding the Step by Step exercises: he can now read many more words and can pick out the relevant word from 7 others – this is a huge jump for him (for the spelling exercise) to a ‘medium’ number of letters on the qwerty keyboard as opposed to the ‘easy’ range. He can name many more items, and without hesitation.

Regarding everyday life, he is now listening to music again, and initiating doing this: before last autumn he was much more passive in various activities and in general. Currently he is interacting far more with his Carers and those he sees on a one-to-one basis. They tell me that he now initiates dialogue with them (even though this may be by gesture primarily plus the use of single question words e.g. ‘how’, ‘when’,’ where’ etc.). But the point is that he is initiating it. He can now put a name to various people, so that if he is waiting in the car for me to do an errand and someone we know passes by, he not only acknowledges them, but also tells me on my return, giving their name. Before this he would just give yes/no answers to me asking if he had seen anyone we know, and then proceeding to establish exactly who it was by questions as to whether the person lived locally to us, if it was a man or woman, were they my friends or his friends etc.

He is also much more aware of the routine of our daily life now and is frequently trying to remind me to do certain things (e.g. charge up his electric scooter, lock the car etc). Slightly frustrating for me that these are things I have done already and have been doing myself for the last 10 years, but under the circumstances I am delighted!

All in all, since using this new version of Step by Step he has woken up, in a way. It’s the only way I can describe it. There have been no other changes to our lives over the last few months that coincide with this process.

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