A stroke might look different depending on which side of your brain it affects. For example, if the left side of the body is affected, then the stroke likely happened on the right hemisphere. What if the right side of the body is affected? You guessed it, the left hemisphere of the brain was affected by the stroke. This is called a contralateral relationship.
Each side of the brain also controls different cognitive aspects. In this article, we will focus on the right side, stay tuned for future blog posts to learn about the left side.
The right side of the brain controls the ability to pay attention, recognize things you see, hear or touch, and be aware of your own body. Below are some common symptoms caused by a right side stroke and some ideas for ways to increase awareness and work on these areas of difficulty:
The ability to recognize objects, faces, voices or places can change.
- Ideas to improve agnosia:
- Reinforcement of pairing the name with the object or face can be helpful in providing cuing to someone with agnosia. Avoid “quizzing” when it comes to agnosia as errorless or guided learning tends to be the most effective approach.
The ability to recall names of everyday objects may be affected.
- Ideas to work on anomia:
- Continued practice with activities such as flashcards with the object and object name can assist in improving anomia. It is important to start with a small number of objects and word pairs to encourage success.
Focusing attention on a conversation or tasks for long periods of time may be difficult
- Ideas for improving attention:
- Work on different areas of attention including sustained attention, trying to start small and taking breaks in order to build the ability to sustain attention for a longer period of time. Other areas of attention include divided attention where someone may switch back and forth between tasks to challenge their attention.
Perseveration (the repetition of a particular response)
Someone may have difficulty following instructions or answering questions asked one right after the other. If you or a loved one has experienced a stroke affecting the right side of the brain, they may repeat answers or movement even if a new instruction is given or a new question is asked.
- Ideas to improve perseveration:
- Identifying when someone is perseverating and assisting by changing the subject to allow the person to get out of the loop of their repetitive thoughts can be useful.
You may have problems judging distance, size, position and rate of movement and how parts relate to a whole.
- Ideas for improving visual/spatial issues:
- Identifying the areas of visual spatial challenges can be done by your occupational or speech therapist. There are specific tasks you can work on to improve your visual and perceptual challenges once they’re identified.
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- Lauren Sheehan, OTD, OTR/LLauren is an occupational therapist, adjunct professor, therapy community builder and product manager based out of San Francisco, CA. Lauren works as a Field Clinical Manager for Neurolutions.