Stories about: occupational therapy

Striking a balance: Charlie’s recovery from neonatal stroke

Charlie is making progress recovering from a stroke.

“Hey, Charlie,” says Dr. Michael Rivkin as he gently dangles a small rubber ducky in front of the little boy. “Would you like this?” A wide smile breaks out across the toddler’s face. Why yes, he certainly would like that duck. He reaches and grasps at it, closing his tiny fingers around the toy.

For Charlie Strzempek, it’s nothing more than a playful act. But for his parents, Kathleen and Tom, it’s a major accomplishment. Dr. Rivkin isn’t simply offering his patient a toy. He’s testing his ability to grab and hold an object in his right hand — the side of his body affected by a neonatal stroke.

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Bouncing back: Nolan’s life after stroke

Nolan experienced a stroke during or following his birth.

Although he’s only a little over a year old, Nolan Morel is a bona fide charmer. Clad in a red shirt and navy blue suspenders, he flashes a happy grin at his mother, Rosalia; his physician, Dr. Laura Lehman; and the others in the room. “Look at those dimples!” someone coos, and he giggles in response. “I can’t believe how social he’s being,” laughs Rosalia. “He wasn’t always like this.”

In fact, Nolan’s first several days of life were anything but lighthearted. Just a few hours after his birth at a hospital north of Boston, he stopped breathing and had to be manually resuscitated and given oxygen. When these frightening episodes continued on and off for the next day, his physicians contacted the Critical Care Transport team from Boston Children’s Hospital.

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