news\ Jan 3, 2012 at 11:23 am

Nintendo DS helps grandmother recover from stroke


After suffering a stroke five years ago, UK resident Linda Learmouth was left partially paralyzed.  All she could manage were a few slurred words, which her husband found hard to understand.

According to the now 48-year-old from Grimsby, the Nintendo DS has helped lead her on an incredible recovery.  The mother-of-four spent countless hours playing self-help puzzle games like Brain Training and Nintendogs And Cats which has helped her find her voice again.

“The Nintendo DS gave me my life back,” Linda told the Yorkshire Post last week.  “It helped me to talk again because some of my games I have to interact with in order for them to work. I have to give instructions verbally and if I don’t say things correctly it doesn’t understand."

The long recovery process began when her husband, Kelvin, bought her a Nintendo DS for their 25th wedding anniversary a year after her stroke.

“I wanted to give her something to do, find some way to bring her back to life. Every year I buy her a rose for our anniversary and take her out for a meal, but that year I bought the Nintendo DS just for a bit of fun really," Kelvin explained.  “She used to dance all the time, she was so energetic before the stroke and I wanted to find some way of making her feel that again.”

While games do bring people joy, I doubt he thought it'd bring her the ability to speak again.

“It’s the best present I’ve ever got her," he added.

While there is some credibility for games helping recovering stroke victims, Tina Peck, principal speech and language therapist for Northern Lincolnshire and Goole Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “The type of communication method that is the best for each person needs careful assessment and advice from a trained speech and language therapist. An electronic device can be life-changing for some people but may not always be the best solution.”

I don't think games are the end all to help recovering victims, but they definitely don't hurt.  I think we will soon find games to be a more useful tool in the recovery process as we begin to see more evidence of patients using them for rehabilitation.

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