There are several ways that your perception could be affected by stroke. Problems with perception can huge impact on your everyday life. It can affect your independence. You may need assistance to do things that were easy for you before.


Michelle Edwards: Perception is how our brain takes in information from the outside world using our vision, our hearing, our taste, touch, smell.


Martin: I was told by my neuropsychologist that my ability to process information had collapsed as a result of the stroke. Gone from the top 5% of men of my age to the bottom of 5%. It has improved to a degree since then, but probably not to the level that he would have wanted it to. So my ability to, if I'm, for instance, somebody reading me a story, my ability to remember the key parts of the story that I previously wouldn't have had a problem with it all, perhaps will now struggle with names. But certainly I would probably have to look at a newspaper a couple of times before I would remember what I'm dealing with. And given that I've been a journalist all my life and newspapers or what I do that can be frustrating at times.


Michelle Edwards: Problems with perception can have a wide ranging impact on your everyday life. It can affect people's independence and you may need assistance to do things that were easy to you before.


Martin: Planning train journeys, organising floats for instance, if anything that's got to be done on the Internet, maybe a little bit more difficult than it was. And I do tend to shy away from from from looking at things that require a lot of instructions that wouldn't have previously been an issue. Um, for instance, um, I would say instructions to deal with white goods. Um, if anything breaks down with something like the television or the washing machine or the fridge or the cooker, I'm not the one to ask to get the instruction manual out and try and solve it. You can't remember in in what order to do things. And you. Sometimes it really has to be one issue at the time, and that's so hard to deal with, when you've been used to being able to deal with three or four things at once.


Michelle Edwards: Perception problems can cause lots of different challenges for people. And it can impact on people's recovery, particularly if they aren't aware of the difficulties that they're having. Sometimes people can't recognise colours or faces, so that can cause problems when people are out and about trying talking to people. If they're not sure who they're talking to. You might find it quite hard to judge how far away things are. And that can mean that people have problems getting around or my trip over things. You might not be able to say, for example, put a lid back on a jar because you're not able to work out how they go together again.


Martin: So I was doing, uh, somewhere with my brilliant physiotherapist the other day, and she was working on my, uh, visual perception field. She was making me catch a ball that was slightly out of my reach on my affected left hand side. And I was a lot worse at it than I thought I was going to be. And she was saying that it's partly down to your visual field perception and she said, We all have problems with our visual field perception. We don't, We don't appreciate sometimes that we have them. And I was by the end of the session of probably an hour, I was a bit better at it than I had been, and if I keep working at it, which I will do, then perhaps it will it will improve.


Michelle Edwards: Some people have difficulties receiving information from one side of their body, and we call this neglect. Sometimes it's called inattention. So they might not be aware that one side of their body at all, and they might knock it on things occasionally. With visual neglect, you may miss things on one side of your body, so that might mean that you only dress one side or you might miss, you might bump into things regularly. You might find that you miss half a plate of food, so what you can do is to learn to turn your plate so that you make sure that you're eating everything. There is often no quick fix for perception problems, but it's learning to compensate for them. For example, labelling objects in your home might make things easier for you. The first point of call for any difficulties following your stroke is to go to your GP. From there, they can make appropriate referrals into other services that can provide support and help. Perception problems, a key place that you can go for support is your occupational therapist. They will give you advice on how to cope with the difficulties that you're experiencing. Lots of support and encouragement can go a long way. So your occupational therapist will give you advice, and it's really important that you carry this on at home. And then from there, your family and friends can learn how to help and support you. Helping your family member to help themselves is really important, so allowing them independence and the opportunity to practise their skills can be a great way of getting them to relearn.