Polly's pages (aka 'Donna Williams')

Ever the arty Autie

Hemiplegia and autism fruit salad


donna aged 0.4 months old
“Hemiparesis is weakness of the entire left or right side of the body. Hemiplegia is its most severe form, complete paralysis of half of the body. Hemiparesis and hemiplegia can be caused by different medical conditions, including congenital causes, trauma, tumors, or most commonly by stroke.” from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1282223/

Donna aged 3 b“Half of all children with hemiplegia have psychological troubles. Some of these, such as autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, may be caused by the brain abnormality.” from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1282223/

donna aged 3 c Hemiplegia can be congenital (genetic) and appear at birth or shortly after birth. It can also be acquired such as in pediatric stroke. Stroke in children can be due to a vascular accident, brain tumor, other brain trauma or accidental or deliberate asphyxiation.

donna 2 As the child gets older, provided they do not continue to have compounding further mild brain injury, they may progressively lose the physical signs of their hemiplegia. Nevertheless, the cognitive and sensory perceptual challenges may remain. In other words it becomes ‘hidden Hemiplegia’.

donna aged 23 Hemiplegia impacts differently depending on whether the left side or right side of the brain are most effected. My pictures indicate left side hemiplegia, which means the right side of my brain was damaged.
In my case the cognitive and sensory perceptual issues meant journeys with severe faceblindness, inability to process what I see as a whole, language processing disorder, inability to internally track and juggle complex thoughts, inability to retain and track visual or verbal instructions, meaning blindness when objects are placed on the side with poor processing, difficulty with visual convergence and tracking, Dyspraxia and associated learning challenges, difficulty with attention span, impulse control and emotional management, difficulty perceiving my own disability, damage to my respiratory drive.

Many people with brain injuries learn to adapt and compensate and often end up achieving many things others may not have imagined they would. I’m one of those people.

Donna Williams, BA Hons, Dip Ed.
Author, artist,and presenter.

I acknowledge Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as the Traditional Owners of this country throughout Australia, and their connection to land and community.

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