March 7, 2008

Old Dogs Can Learn New Tricks

People dealing with aphasia and apraxia will understand my excitement at having my husband finally---for the first time since May 21, 2000---try to spell a word that he couldn't verbalize. It's the first time he's done that. It always shocks me when Don comes up with something new like this. The brain really is a mysterious place where spontaneous healing can happen. After he did that, I recognized right away that this could be an important break-through so I tried having him write the word on paper. It didn't work. He could only write half the word, just like he could only spell out half of it with his voice. Then I had him write my name on paper. And he could do it! The only word he's been able to initiate in written form until now was his own first name and that took five years for that to happen. This week he added my name to his list of written accomplishments. How cool is that!

After his group class at the college on Thursday, I told the speech therapist/professor about this new development. She agrees we need to start trying to build on the change that appears to be happening in Don's brain. So it's back to doing homework at the kitchen table again. This time we'll be working on spelling and writing.


EdB said...

My wife suffered a stroke in July of 2006. We have pretty much given up on her physical therapy because of the pain in her affected leg and arm. We also don't go to speech therapy any longer because it didn't seem to be doing any good. After reading your story, maybe there might be hope after all.

the aphasia decoder.... said...


Have you talked to a pain specialist? Sometimes botox shots help.