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Help for children affected by stroke

Posted on Monday 15th May 2017
The Childhood Stoke Handbook and animations to support children who have experienced a stroke.

The Childhood Stroke Handbook and images from the animations.

Evelina London Children’s Hospital and the Stroke Association have created the first dedicated resources to explain stroke in childhood to children.

Children and their families can get help coping with the trauma of childhood stroke thanks to the publication of a new child friendly book and animations.

The Childhood Stroke Handbook includes information about what stroke is, how to recover from it, and gives children advice on how to talk about their feelings. The four Childhood Stroke Animations are based on the handbook, bringing the advice to life in a way that’s engaging and easy to understand.

Anna Panton, Childhood Stroke Project Manager at the Stroke Association, supports children and families at Evelina London.

She says: "The childhood stroke animations are a unique and new resource, helping children to understand about stroke in childhood, what happens when they go in to hospital, what therapy and rehabilitation may involve, and offering ways to talk about what has happened to them.

“They have been created in collaboration with families affected by stroke in childhood, and the words and images reflect their experiences.  They will be a great resource to use when supporting families affected by a stroke diagnosis in childhood - talking to young people affected and helping others understand their experiences - like teachers, friends and classmates."

Former Evelina London patient, seven-year-old Emily Burgess, and her mother Virginia, from Greenwich in south east London, helped to shape the handbook and animations.

Emily was only three when she was referred to Evelina London where specialists diagnosed that she had suffered a stroke.

Virginia Burgess said: “I was completely shocked when I was told the news, and was not even aware that children could have strokes. Emily spent nine days in Evelina London, and it was a bewildering time for her. Luckily Emily made amazing progress and the staff were very supportive. Emily responded really well to the team’s care and treatment, and they continued to support us as we adjusted to being back at home.

“It’s been great working with Evelina and the Stroke Association on the handbook and animations. Emily’s brothers, Peter and Thomas, really enjoyed working on the animations, especially as they had to learn about Emily’s condition too. It’s been great to give something back, and hopefully our experiences can help other young children and families going through something similar.”

Anne Gordon, Consultant Occupational Therapist in Neurology at Evelina London, said: “Many people think strokes only happen to older people, so a stroke in a baby or child can come as a big shock. In fact, around 400 childhood strokes occur in the UK each year – that’s more than one a day. The Child Stroke Project is here for children, young people, and their families, and these resources are the first step in raising awareness of this issue more widely."

Read the Childhood Stroke Handbook and watch the Childhood Stroke Animations.

Find out more about Stroke services at Evelina London.

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