To Read, Write, and Speak Again

Sophie Salveson survived a stroke at 19. It's not the way any freshman wants to end their first year of college. She was a writer, actor, and singer. The stroke stole her right side limbs, her speech, and her access to language.

Sophia Salveson looks at the camera in an ethereal headshot.

Over the past 10 years she fought back through PT, OT, speech therapy. She learned to stand, walk and speak again. And she continues to make progress.

In the previous episode (http://strokecast.com/ExpandedPractice) I spoke with Marabeth Quinn, Sophie's Mom, and Danielle Stoller, one of Sophie's Physical Therapists. This week, we hear from Sophie and Marabeth and learn more about Sophie's journey.

If you don't see the audio player below, visit http://Strokecast.com/Sophie.



Many people with aphasia find it easier to sing than to speak. Early treatment sometimes involves getting folks to sing their name or sing a greeting. Or even sing a song deeply embedded in their memory, like Happy Birthday.

It has to do with the way music and song live in different part of the brain.

Aphasia isn't the only place music as an impact. In episode 106, I spoke with Brian Harris of Medrhythms about his work using music to bypass limitations of the motor cortex and help people significantly improve their gait.

This is an amazing video of Sophie from 2020. You can hear her sing, "A Change in Me" from Beauty and the Beast.

Now, I really want to hear Sophie's Eponine.

Maggie and Michael

Sophie isn't the only stroke survivor with a passion for theater.

I talked with Maggie in episode 38. Since then she has acted in a theater company fill with folks with disabilities. She continues to make progress on her documentary, The Great Now What. Here's the trailer:

Michael Schutt was on the show in episode 124 talking about creating his solo show to share his stroke story. COVID lock downs meant planned performances didn't happen. He pivoted it into a radio play available on line. You can listen at http://ALessonInSwimming.com.

Sophie's Book Recommendations

The first book Sophie really read for pleasure after her stroke was "Shatter Me," by Tahereh Mafi.* It came with a powerful endorsement -- her sister's. And connecting about the book with her sister was a powerful incentive to read it, no matter what it took.

Sophie's current favorites include "Good Girl's Guide to Murder," by Holly Jackson and "Elsewhere," by Gabrielle Zevin. * Pick up a copy or find them at your library and tell Sophie what you like about her favorites.

Hack of the Week

Keep trying. Speaking with aphasia is tough, but the only way out is through the key is to keep trying and to keep working on it.

I've found it best top to try doing a thing with my affected hand three times before switching to my unaffected side. By trying three times, I'm reminding my brain that my left hand is still there and has a job to do. By stopping after three failed attempts, I stave off frustration and can try again another day.


Where do we go from here?

Here is the latest episode of The Strokecast

No comments: