Art offers a unique way to communicate. But for patients recovering from a debilitating stroke and the resulting impairment of fine motor skills, it may be the only way to break through the feeling of isolation.
Speaking slowly and deliberately, Bellevue resident Liz Rasmussen explained, “Words are my passion but since my stroke I have found other ways of expressing myself.”
Four years ago at age 45, Rasmussen suffered a stroke that left her unable to talk for three weeks. She continues on the long journey of recovery.
The recent “Strokes for Stroke” event held at Overlake Medical Center was sponsored by the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association and glassybaby. Rasmussen was one of about two dozen survivors and their caregivers taking part.
Abhineet Chowdhary, M.D., director of the Overlake Neuroscience Institute said art enables cognitive healing.
“Creative function and abstract thoughts activate more areas of the brain than just discrete movements, so by doing art, the connections within the brain itself are enhanced,” Chowdhary in a press release from Overlake.
While Overlake holds monthly stroke survivor support groups, this is the first time the AHA/ASA have offered an opportunity for patients to create art. According to instructor Jennifer Sveund, a licensed mental health counselor, “art therapy is really a wonderful way for survivors to bring out a part of their inner selves and share it with the world.”