Raising awareness of childhood stroke

As Stroke Awareness Month comes to an end we catch up with Anna Panton, Childhood Stroke Project Manager at The Stroke Association.

Q: Anna, please can you tell us a bit about childhood stroke?

There are a lot of misconceptions about stroke in children. The most common is that babies and children don’t have strokes, and sadly we still come across that too often. Getting a correct diagnosis is often the first barrier that families face. Later on in the stroke pathway, as the child grows up, the issues around stroke awareness and the support that a child needs changes. A child having a stroke can have a huge impact on the whole family and long-term effects can emerge over time. For example, stroke can affect the psychological and social development of children, so support needs to evolve with the child. Being able to access appropriate therapy when they need it, is equally important for all stroke survivors, adults and children alike.

Q: What developments have taken place recently in terms of awareness?

The Stroke Association worked with the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) to update the childhood stroke guidelines in 2017, and our Childhood Stroke Project team has shared them in a range of different forums. We know there still needs to be greater public and professional awareness that stroke can happen to children and young people – so we have produced easy access documents with key recommendations and parent guidelines.

Q: What have you been doing for 2018’s Stroke Awareness Month?

This May we’ve been asking people to Go Purple for Pounds. It is a really simple idea – have fun and raise funds by wearing purple. Families and young people got involved in lots of ways.

Q: What resources or events would you recommend for parents of children or young people who have had a stroke?

Stroke Guideline 2017
Parents, carers or professionals supporting families can get in touch with our Childhood Stroke Support Service directly – to see if we can offer them any personalised information, advice or support.    The Stroke Association website also includes a range of information that will be helpful to families and young people – we share our Childhood Stroke Project resources, summaries of our Parent Support & Information Days, and signpost to other resources and sources of support including the 2017 RCPCH childhood stroke guidelines. 

Q: Do you have any other advice for parents?

Families worry a lot about their children, understandably. There are people to talk to and there are families who have gone through it too, so you are not alone. Stroke can be devastating but it is a recovering condition. We have people working and volunteering at the Stroke Association who had strokes as children, so though the future might seem daunting, it can still be bright.

Thanks very much for your time Anna!

Share page
Print page
Follow us