#OTalk Tues 14th October 2014 – Hemiplegia

The week (13th -17th Oct 2014) is Hemiplegia Awareness Week and as an occupational therapist with hemiplegia I thought it would be interesting to host an #OTalk on the subject.

When thinking about how to fill an hour’s Twitter chat, I first thought, well I have hemiplegia but I’m not an expert, so have done some reading, but this video with Al Murray may also challenge or add to your knowledge of hemiplegia http://www.youtube.com/user/hemihelp

I was also pleased to see an article in this month’s OT news (October 22(10) 2014 page 7), “Hemiplegia magic camps reach their Dynamo finale.” In which two occupational therapists Dido Green and Amarlie Moore work with Breath Arts Health Research to conduct clinical tests that examined how hand function and self-esteem can improve after children with Hemiplegia attended a magic camp and learnt tricks.

The article demonstrates that by engaging the children in fun and meaningful activities that encouraged them to use parts of their bodies that they had difficulty using, improved their functioning and had a direct effect on their ability to carry out every day task like tying a shoe lace quicker.

I have invited (from those I know on Twitter) some people with hemiplegia/ carers to join us. The first half of the #OTalk is for both OTs and those with lived experiences to ask questions, and share knowledge and experiences. Let’s discuss “What is the Role of the OT”, and “What have those with hemiplegia experienced – both positives and struggles.”

The second half I wanted to use as a sort of celebration and acknowledgment of the natural “OT way” of thinking that those with hemiplegia have – the natural problem solvers as this great video by Hemi help on you tube demonstrates. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qg3-nxdXMJo

What I have always enjoyed is seeing the ways that friends and colleagues I know with disabilities have learnt to naturally adapted their tasks and environments. Do we as occupational therapists acknowledge this and take the time to explore this with our service users or do we think we are the experts and know best?

Hemi-Help which is a charity providing support and information for people with hemiplegia and their families in the UK; during Hemiplegia awareness week they hope to both raise awareness and some funds. The following is taken from their website. www.hemihelp.org.uk

Hemiplegia – The facts
• Hemiplegia (sometimes called hemiparesis) is a condition affecting one side of the body (Greek ‘hemi’ = half).
• There is a right or left hemiplegia, depending on the side affected.
• It is caused by damage to some part of the brain, which may happen before, during or soon after birth, when it is known as congenital hemiplegia, or later as a result of injury or illness, in which case it is called acquired hemiplegia.
• Generally, injury to the left side of the brain will cause a right hemiplegia and injury to the right side a left hemiplegia.
• Childhood hemiplegia is a relatively common condition, affecting up to one child in 1,000. About 80% of cases are congenital, and 20% acquired
• The effects of hemiplegia are difficult to generalise: hemiplegia affects each child differently.
• The most obvious result is a varying degree of weakness and lack of control in the affected side of the body, rather like the effects of a stroke.
• In one person this may be very obvious (he or she may have little use of one hand, may limp or have poor balance); in another child it will be so slight that it only shows when attempting specific physical activities.

What is happening during hemiplegia awareness week?

• Mitten Monday – MITTEN MONDAY MUGSHOTS: Take a picture of yourself wearing a mitten (even a sock will do) and post it on your own and hemi helps Facebook page. Then text MITT14 £2 to 70070 to donate £2 to Hemi Help
Wearing the mitten and trying to do some everyday activities in it gives you and ideas of how it feels to have limits to you hand function.
• Acrostic Tuesday, Create your own acrostic of ‘Hemiplegia
• Watch It Wednesday – watch and share video’s about hemiplegia
• Put-Up-A-Poster Thursday – Put up posters as part of the awareness campaign.
• Sweet-talking Friday -bake, eat, chat and raise money all at the same time.

This is my Acrostic for Hemiplegia awareness week.
Having to do things differently
Every day you will find
Most people don’t understand how
It impacts on everyday activities, making them
Physically exhausting with
Learning challenges which can lead to
Emotional ups and downs whist
Growing up and beyond
I persevered and
Achieved

Rachel Booth. Clinical Lead Occupational Therapist, Chair BAOT Northern & Yorkshire Region, @OT_rach

Here’s the link to the transcript.

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