Saturday, March 14, 2015

Pictures Can Explain What OTs Are Doing

Rebecca Dutton
Home After a Stroke
April 4, 2014

Aphasia is the inability to understand the spoken word and/or to express oneself verbally.  It is easy for PTs to communicate with aphasic clients because everything they do is aimed at walking.  PTs explain this without saying a word.  I went to PT and exercised, walked, and rested.  When I came down after lunch I exercised, walked, and rested.  This routine repeated every day so I did not need to ask why my PT had me slide a towel on the floor with my paralyzed foot.  OTs have a harder time telling clients what we are doing because we work on so many different ADL goals.

Fortunately aphasic clients may retain procedural knowledge.  This is the ability to execute the steps of a task that often requires visual information.  We do not talk ourselves through the steps of tying shoelaces.  We remember what the steps look like and what our hands are supposed to do.  Visual information is stored in a different location than language so procedural knowledge may be spared after a stroke.  Printing out clip art or photos found on the Internet may help OTs explain what they are doing to help their clients.  Here is an example.
A towel sliding exercise may strengthen the arm which makes it easier to put on a shirt so the client can join the family for dinner.

If clients want to go home to eat a home cooked meal I am pretty sure they are not picturing themselves eating in bed wearing sweaty pajamas while the family eats at the dinning room table.

To close the deal salesmen have to offer customers something they want.  Guessing what a person wants is risky.  Better to show a client a notebook with pictures of hugging a child, petting a cat, sitting on the patio, etc.  It would be ideal if the family could bring in photos of activities the client enjoys.  Good salesmen watch a customer's face to see what makes his or her face light up.

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