stroke occurs on the right side of the brain, a
person's ability to judge distance, size, position, rate of movement, form, and
the way parts relate to the whole is affected (spatial-perceptual problems).
People with these problems may have more trouble learning to care for
Signs of perception problems are often noticed by the caregiver of a
person who has had a stroke. These signs may include:
Not noticing people or things on the affected
side and turning his or her head or eyes to the unaffected side. The person may
not be able to steer a wheelchair through a large doorway without bumping the
Not being aware of body parts on the affected
Having difficulty recalling how to form numbers and letters
or confusing similar numbers. The person may not be able to add
Having difficulty recalling the written spelling of words.
The person may not be able to read the newspaper.
inside and outside of clothing or the right and left sides of
Having a hard time knowing when he or she is sitting or
People with perception problems—even minor ones—should not drive a
Some tips for working with someone who has perception problems
include the following:
Cut down on clutter to prevent a fall. Also, make
sure that rooms are well lit. Install night lights in the bedroom and
Avoid rapid movements around the person. Other people
moving around in the room also may be distracting.
Mark lines on
door frames or full-length mirrors so that the person can see what is
Do not overestimate the person's abilities. Watch to see
what can be done safely rather than taking the person's word for
Tell the person how to do things if he or she has trouble
remembering how to do a task. Put your hands in your pockets to keep yourself
from gesturing as you talk the person through the steps. It may also be good to
have the person talk through the task.
Break tasks into small steps
and give lots of praise. Encourage the person to slow down and check each step
carefully. Don't nag. Nagging may cause the person to become angry and
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