Perhaps my best moment as an Speech-Language Pathologist came when I was doing chart screens in a vent/trach unit and I came across a gentleman with a diagnosis of cerebellar CVA. Physician notes stated that the patient had severe aphasia and dementia and was the basis for his non-communication. Reading the chart and drawing on my knowledge of neuro anatomy, I felt that just maybe this patient’s communication deficit was due to something other than aphasia/dementia.
What I remember most about this gentleman was his eyes. They were incredibly big and expressive and tracked everything in his environment. I decided to obtain a clear plexiglass board and did some research on methods of placing letters on the board. Once completed, I took the board to his room and within one session, he and I were having a conversation about his favorite car, a 1957 Chevy.
This gentleman had undiagnosed locked-in syndrome and did not have one shred of aphasia or dementia. Not long after I started working with him, his family had him moved to Idaho to be closer to them. He was able to tell me that he was glad to have moved closer to family.
Sam Parker, MS, CCC-SLP
Area Rehab Director