The rigid AFO serves a purpose early in rehabilitation following stroke. It provides stability to the weak leg, allowing people to safely stand and transfer. This rigid AFO, however, is NOT the ankle brace that should be used when one is learning how to walk again. It is time to start demanding that ankle orthosis be made so that a hinged ankle and some form of dorsiflexion assistance can be added once the survivor is ready to learn to walk. Using a rigid ankle brace almost demands that the person learn to walk with a stiff leg, that is thrown forward with hip hike and circumduction. One cannot bend the knee for walking if the ankle is fixed! Simple biomechanics. So, how do we change the way Therapists, Physicians, and Orthotists approach the ankle??
I am not a speech therapist and have no real training in speech therapy… and yet I think about speech rehab all the time. I see clients who post one year have not yet regained their speech following a stroke and I wonder if maybe the wrong approach is being taken. Instead of trying to “regain” speech, maybe they need to learn speech again. Like learning a foreign language! Building new speech centers in the brain! I have had several clients tell me that they benefited from foreign language tapes and from programs like Rosetta Stone. The language they “learned” was English. Yep, just as if it was a foreign language.
I would love to hear what others have done for their speech therapy and recovery. The more we share with each other, the more empowered all stroke survivors will be.