A Wallan childhood stroke survivor has thrown her support behind a new resource to educate Australians on the impact of stroke in children and how to support them.
Hailey Barber was six years old and in prep when she suffered a stroke in 1999, taking her out of school for four months.
Ms Barber, now 29, said returning to school was isolating and came with huge challenges.
“It was a really frightening time especially not being able to communicate to anyone what was going on,” she said.
“It was really hard keeping up with my peers. I wanted to run around and do things but the fatigue wouldn’t let me and other pupils weren’t sure why I was doing certain things like constantly leaving lids off Textas.”
To help educate friends, families and school communities, the Stroke Foundation has launched the ‘All brains are beautiful’ fact sheet, which explains the impact of stroke in children, including how it affects their feelings, friendships and ability to learn.
Stroke Foundation StrokeConnect Information national manager Jude Czerenkowski said starting school or going back to school could be an anxious time for children after stroke.
“Some kids may not be able to do what they used to do. They may do things differently. They may need help or more time,” she said.
“The fact sheet is written for parents to read through with the pre and primary school aged children. It explains what a stroke is and how it can affect children [and] has lots of great advice on how to help.
“Having good friends, who are kind and who include them, makes a world of difference to childhood stroke survivors.”
Ms Barber said she hoped the fact sheet would help ease the transition to school for childhood stroke survivors and their families.
“It’s a good resource when you’re trying to reassimilate into school, trying to find your feet again and gives your peers an understanding of what was going on and they don’t treat it as a taboo subject,” she said.
The fact sheet can be found at store.strokefoundation.org.au/products/fact-sheet-all-brains-are-beautiful-25-pack.