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Be a Stroke Hero
Share Your Story
By Christy Bailey
Any child who has survived a stroke is going to be asked questions: Why do you talk funny? What happened to you? Am I going to catch it? A child stroke survivor may be laughed at or teased. The best defense? Empower your childhood stroke survivor to be a stroke hero. Prepare your child to answer questions before they’re asked.
It is important that the storyteller your child be comfortable and prepared. Start by having your child practice telling the story at home. Clarify details, fill in gaps, and explain what happened in simple terms. Next have your child share his or her story in a small group, such as a scout meeting or another safe environment. When you’re ready, ask the teacher if your
child can share the story with the class.
To help start discussions about stroke in schools, National Stroke Association created a Hip Hop Stroke™ Bulletin Board in a Box. The ready-to-assemble bulletin board includes materials explaining how the brain works, what is stroke, what you do about it and what small steps you can take today to prevent a stroke later. The bulletin board can be used
by teachers to support a specific class, in hallways to generate awareness, or by you and your child when sharing your story with groups.
“Children will enjoy learning about the brain and stroke if you make it fun,” says Jeannie Price, Community Programs Manager for National Stroke Association.
One kid-friendly program developed by National Stroke Association is Brainiac Kids. This stroke education program consists of fun activities for children of all ages, including brain maps they can color, crossword puzzles and word finds. Brainiac Kids comes with a PowerPoint presentation that they can use to teach others about stroke.
“It’s important to keep things simple and interactive,” says Price. “For example, I have kids hold their two fists together, and then I explain that their brain is about that size. They really relate to these demonstrations, plus it keeps them engaged.”
People don’t think kids can have strokes, so they don’t react quickly to the signs. On average, 48 to 72 hours pass after the onset of stroke symptoms before children are taken to the hospital. Adults are taken to the hospital 12 to 24 hours after symptom onset. But this doesn’t have to be the case. Your stroke survivor child can help other people learn about stroke by sharing his or her unique stroke story and possibly save lives.
Use National Stroke Association’s discussion guide to identify audiences and resources for your stroke recovery story. The guide includes questions to discuss at your next stroke support group meeting, with your family, or independently. Go to www.stroke.org/myturn to download the guide or call (800) STROKES.
For more information on the Hip Hop Stroke™ Bulletin Board in a Box or Brainiac Kids, go to www.stroke.org/kids.
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