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Stroke

A stroke occurs when a blood clot or vascular rupture interrupts blood flow to the brain. When the brain does not receive adequate blood flow, brain cells don't receive oxygen and nutrients from the blood. Without necessary oxygen, brain cells die and brain damage occurs.
Stroke is a leading cause of adult disability. How a student is affected by a stroke depends on where in the brain the stroke takes place and how much of the brain is damaged. When brain cells die during a stroke, abilities (e.g. speech, movement, or memory) controlled by that area of the brain might be impacted.

Observing Stroke in the Classroom

Faculty might observe the following in students who have experienced a stroke:

  • Impulsiveness
  • Visual field impairments
  • Short term memory difficulties
  • Speech difficulties (aphasia)
  • A need for frequent feedback or clarification of tasks
  • Difficulties making generalizations
  • Coordination or balance problems
  • Paralysis

Resources

Related Functional Characteristics

Articulation : Paralysis on one side of the body caused by damage to the opposite side of the brain can impact the lip and tongue muscles affecting articulation.

Fatigue (Cognitive) : Students who have had a stroke may experience cognitive fatigue even after a full recovery from other symptoms; this type of fatigue can have rapid onset and prolonged recovery time.

Fatigue (Physical) : Students who have had a stroke may experience physical fatigue due to poor quality or disrupted sleep, limited ability to exercise, or weakness.

Fluid Reasoning : Strokes can cause neurological damage impacting the student's ability to retrieve information from memory impacting deductive and inductive reasoning.

Inability to Comprehend Social Cues : Students who have had a stroke may exhibit impaired recognition and comprehension of social cues due to frontal lobe damage.

Information Processing Speed : The brain injury from a stroke can cause students to experience slower information processing. Damage to the right hemisphere can cause slowed reaction time, while damage to the left hemisphere can decrease processing for complex tasks and visual motor tasks.

Intelligibility : Students who have had a stroke may have speech intelligibility deficits.

Long Term Memory Deficit : Damage to the hippocampus, frontal or temporal lobes, or amygdala can impair the ability to learn new information or retrieve what has already been learned.

Motor Skill (Fine) : Students who have had a stroke may experience fine motor skills difficulty due to muscle weakness or control issues.

Motor Skill (Gross Lower) : Students who have had a stroke may have gross motor difficulties in the legs or lower body due to muscle weakness, muscle tone, or paralysis and may use a wheelchair, a cane, or crutches.

Motor Skill (Gross Upper) : Students who have had a stroke may have gross motor difficulties in the arms or upper body due to muscle weakness, muscle tone, or paralysis.

Numbness : Students who have had a stroke can experience numbness in their paralyzed or weakened limbs.

Processing Deficit (Visual) : Students who have had a stroke may experience visual neglect in the eye affected limiting their ability to process complex visual stimuli.

Production (Verbal) : Verbal production can require more time and effort for students who have had a stroke due to brain damage that affects their language skills.

Sequencing Deficit : Students who have had a stroke may have a sequencing impairment. If the left hemisphere was affected, verbal sequencing is likely to be impaired; if the right hemisphere was affected, spatial sequencing is often difficult.

Service Animal Needs : Students who have had a stroke may have a service animal to help them with tasks such as balance.

Word Finding : Students who have had a stroke may have word finding difficulty due to brain damage, particularly if there is damage to the Broca's area, a part of the left hemisphere of the brain which affects language production.

Working / Short Term Memory Deficit : Neurological damage from a stroke can cause working memory impairments requiring students to compensate by using strategies and spending extra time on tasks.

The Building Accepting Campus Communities (BACC) project was funded by the US Department of Education Office of Secondary Education grant #P333A080070-09. The University of Nebraska does not discriminate based on gender, age, disability, race, color, religion, marital status, veteran's status, national or ethnic origin, or sexual orientation.