September 5th we are headed back to Montevideo- just in time for school. Dad is already planning a schedule for himself! He has not been home since June 2010, so he is getting excited about heading back.
We find that my dad's aphasia is improving a lot, but the apraxia is what is hard for him right now. Apraxia is knowing what to say(or do), but not knowing how to say it. (i.e. He knows he wants to say "tomorrow," but he just can't think of how to form the word.) If we give him just the first sound of the word, he knows how to say it from there. He can also 99% of the time write the word or sentence, even if he can't speak it. Rarely is there a time now where he just gives up on what he wants to say. It still takes time, but the speech is becoming more constant and is always improving! New vocabulary comes nearly every day!
One activity that Dad does at home is reading several paragraphs aloud. The paragraphs are about 5 sentences long. He started working on this about 5 weeks ago, and every week he adds a new paragraph. My dad now has a piece of paper with 5 paragraphs on it which he is supposed to read aloud. One of us will read the paragraph with him, then he reads it on his own- pointing to each word as he reads. This started out very difficult for him, but it keeps improving! With each new paragraph, it becomes easier for him. It's so fun to hear his voice reading aloud for a couple minutes, and it's always getting better!
He also seems to be comprehending a lot more things lately, and tries to join in on conversations more often. He used to just sit back, since it was so hard to speak. Now as he keeps improving, he is starting to join in and say a little bit. This is encouraging not only for us, but for him, too. I can only imagine how much he wants to say, and now is finally starting to be able to say some of it. I know that what he wants to say is much more complicated than what he can actually say right now, but we are all very confident that his speech will just keep improving!
We have heard from several people and/or websites that typically the first 6 months after a person's stroke is when most improvements will be made. We have found this to be incorrect. Dad's progress has not slowed down at all!
Dad also seems to have more energy for his therapy at home. A few days ago he went on an hour and a half long walk, and came back and worked on his paragraph, apraxia drills, and other therapies!
The early part of this week we all went up to the family's cottage for a few relaxing days. My dad won our game of Scrabble, after he played a 7 letter word and got the 50 point bonus!
"I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;I will counsel you with my loving eye on you." -Psalm 32:8
"...the Lord's unfailing love surrounds the man who trusts in him." -Psalm 32:10