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Meet Aidan

Most people don’t think of children when they hear the word stroke but it was recently determined that the week you are born is actually the most focused period of risk for stroke in your life. Most survivors of perinatal strokes are left with weakness on one side, a common form of cerebral palsy. Understanding why perinatal stroke happens and finding new ways to improve function is one of the main goals for the Brain Health Team at the Alberta Children’s Hospital.

Aidan was just a baby when his parents Kim and Jeff learned he had suffered a stroke, either in utero or at birth. Then, when Aidan had his first seizure at just 18 hours old, his parents became worried what his future might hold.

Aidan has been cared for at the Alberta Children’s Hospital his whole life and today, with considerable help from his doctors, therapists and his teachers at school, Aidan has made great progress with his speech and fine motor skills.

In 2012, Aidan participated in clinical trial exploring the ability of two cutting-edge therapies to try and enhanceMeet Aidan! motor function in children with perinatal stroke. The program was intense – a two week day camp model where kids set goals and worked on them through creative therapy interventions alongside their peers – other kids with stroke. On top of traditional therapies, Aidan had the opportunity to undergo constraint-induced movement therapy and Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) as a way to improve motor ability in the side of his body affected by the stroke.

Aidan was a camp star. Like most the other kids that have been through the program, he was cautious on the first day but he quickly settled in, finding his own groove while inspiring the others. He worked diligently with his therapist to tackle his goals, always with a smile on his face. His determination and positive attitude were inspiring to the other kids and to his entire care team. The improvement in Aidan’s mobility was incredible and so was the boost to his confidence!

Today, Aidan is even more encouraged. Already a big of fan of playing soccer, football, hockey and skateboarding, Aidan amazed his family by surfing like a pro on a trip to Maui!

Thanks to community support, the Alberta Children’s Hospital is home to the first pediatric non-invasive brain stimulation lab in the country. Offering new hope to children like Aidan, the lab uses Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) as a way to map and understand the brain and potentially stimulate it to re-route damaged pathways and improve function. The lab has opened the doors for many innovative treatment and research opportunities right here in Calgary.

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