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May is National Stroke Awareness Month, highlighting the importance of recognizing the signs of stroke so people can react quickly to minimize the damage a stroke causes. As a reminder, every person should learn to “act FASTFace drooping, Arm weakness, Speech difficulty, Time to call 9-1-1.”

Stroke statistics are staggering: it’s the fifth leading cause of death in the United States and a leading cause of severe disability; in the U.S., one person dies from stroke roughly every four minutes.

At the same time, however, stroke is increasingly treatable. For those who have been disabled by a stroke or who are caring for loved ones who struggle with the residual effects, there is escalating hope for partial or full recovery.

What many people don’t realize is that stroke can happen at any age—not just to adults. In fact, this month also raises awareness for pediatric stroke, an event that can happen in utero, during birth or soon after, resulting in mental or physical restrictions that can be particularly heartbreaking for new parents.

Many parents in these circumstances are struggling with a “new normal”—trying to determine what their little child can or cannot do, trying to understand what is wrong and what can be improved. For too many, they feel overwhelmed and uncertain.

But there is hope—through movement. The study of neuroplasticity—the brain’s potential to adapt and reorganize itself by creating new neural pathways—has revealed that the basic unit of information for the brain is the perception of differences. Using gentle, specific movements as a tool, revolutionary treatments can actually switch on affected areas of the brain, bringing perceptible improvement and true developmental progress for families who had often been told “there is nothing we can do.”

As a certified ABM Neuromovement® specialist who has seen real change for hundreds of children dealing with restricted mental and physical development caused by pediatric stroke and other issues, it’s my mission to tell parents not to give up and not to spend another day feeling hopeless. If you are seeking help, it’s there. Find a practitioner near you by searching “neuromovement.” Or contact me and I’ll help direct you to a specialist in your region who can help.

You don’t have to go it alone, and you don’t have to travel this road without hope.