Episode 016 -- Microsoft Ability Summit and Neurofatigue after Stroke

"I'm never satisfied with any progress. That's why you wake up in the morning."

-- Satya Nadella, Microsoft CEO on making products and services more accessible.

On May 31, I attended the Microsoft Ability Summit. It's a product showcase, presentation time, and multi-company job fair focused on accessibility and giving job seekers with disabilities an opportunity to meet with recruiters.

They had a great demo Presentation Translator. This tool automatically subtitles whatever a speaker is saying and displays it on their slides. It also supports translation into multiple languages nearly instantaneously. It's a very cool technology that I'll probably talk more about in a future episode of 2-Minute Talk Tips. I'm especially interested in whether the subtitles are helpful for folks with aphasia or other challenges.

It was a great event, with an extensive set of accommodations to make it as accessible as possible. You can learn more about the event and initiatives here or by following the Twitter Hashtag #ability summit My biggest challenge with the event was that it was too short.


Of course, had it been longer that may have given me other challenges. It turns out when you stay you too late, and then go to an intense event, and then deal with Seattle rush hour traffic -- you get tired. It's even more pronounced due to neurofatigue.

Stroke and TBI survivors are prone to neurofatigue because we are doing more brain work with less brain. It's normal and common for many survivors to find the need more naps and more sleep. The folks over at Brain Injury Explanation have a good explanation of it. As they should.

One thing that's makes neurofatigue different from standard sleepiness in my experience is the wall. I don't get tired gradually. I go about my business burning energy until that low fuel light suddenly comes on and my brain demands, "NAP. NOW."

Here are 7 ways to address neurofatigue:

  1. Rest.
  2. Reduce sensory input.
  3. Nap.
  4. Eat right.
  5. Hydrate.
  6. Talk with your doctor about sleep (sleep apnea is a very not good thing).
  7. Don't stay up all night editing podcasts.

Hack of the Week

A thermos with a handle is a great way to carry beverages around the home. A tight lid prevents spills.

What I like about a handle is I can use my affected hand to carry it, leaving my good hand to hold my cane or a hand rail.  The tone in my affected hand helps prevent me from dropping. Doing this also helps to minimize learned non-use.

Where do we go from here?

  • Did your doctors and therapists tell you neurofatigue was a thing? What has your experience been like? Tell us about it in the comments at Strokecast.com/neurofatigue.
  • You can help Strokecast by spreading the word. Share this episode with your Facebook and Twitter friends by linking to http://strokecast.com/neurofatigue 
  • Need to carry beverages? Pick up a nice thermos with a tight lid and handle/
  • Don't get best...get better.


Here is the latest episode of The Strokecast

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