Supporting Ronan’s stroke recovery

Supporting Ronan's stroke recovery
Posted on Tue 26 Mar 2019

When you think of a stroke survivor it conjures images of someone in their 60s, 70s or 80s. It was a shock for his family when Ronan Osborne suffered a stroke due to a blood clot in his brain at just five years old. 

This inquisitive and chatty boy has come a long way in his recovery. 


How did it happen?

In January 2017, Ronan complained of headaches and became lethargic, alarming Amy Osborne and her husband. They took Ronan to their local doctor where he started vomiting and was rushed to hospital. Initially the doctors thought he might have meningitis and they quickly took a CT scan, which revealed a problem in the back of his brain. 

As Ronan deteriorated, he was urgently transported by Ambulance to Sydney Children’s Hospital where they did an emergency MRI. This scan revealed that the vertical artery was blocked by an artery dissection along with a blood clot that were stopping blood from circulating to both sides of his brain. Little Ronan suffered strokes on both sides of his brain. The medical team spurred into action and performed emergency surgery where they removed the clot and part of his bone to allow any swelling. That was a dramatic 24 hours for the family. 

Ronan was in an induced coma at varying levels for two weeks to give his body the best opportunity to recover. As he woke up as they reduced the different medications he was unable to talk or eat, he had some movement in his legs and one of his arms. That's when his intensive rehabilitation and recovery program began. 


Introducing the NDIS 

After months of intensive occupational therapy, physiotherapy and speech pathology at the hospital, Ronan was transferred to the local community health services until he became eligible for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). 

Amy was facing a new challenge; a series of overwhelming unknowns and had no idea where to start. That's when she contacted Cerebral Palsy Alliance after receiving a number of recommendations.  The team met her and Ronan for an initial interview to assess his needs and what the organisation could offer. 


“They helped me through the NDIS process, which I really appreciated because it felt like a bit of a minefield and was so new and unknown to me,” Amy said. 


“We had been on the NDIS waitlist but because Cerebral Palsy Alliance is an Early Childhood Intervention Transition Partner they were able to help us immediately. 

“I had a one-to-one meeting with the senior occupational therapist who helped me work out Ronan’s goals, and what supports and services he needed to achieve them. They made completing the paperwork an easy process. 

“Once submitted we had to wait a while but I did receive approval of the plan. Again it felt unknown to me, but the team at Cerebral Palsy Alliance stepped in and showed me how to use the portal. 


“At a time when everything was new and unknown it was great to have people who knew the process, how the system worked, what we needed to know and where to start,” she said. 


Services and supports 

Ronan has been coming to Cerebral Palsy Alliance for his occupational therapy, physiotherapy, and hydrotherapy. He's also participated in the intensive programs available including Constraint Induced Movement Therapy (CIMT). The team were able to harness the neuroplasticity of his still developing mind, using evidence-based therapies and supports to further his recovery. These days Ronan can be seen running and playing, laughing and talking, even putting together intricate Lego. And now he is embarking on the next big chapter in his life, school. 


“I have seen improvements in Ronan since working with the Cerebral Palsy Alliance therapy team,” Amy said. 

“His fine motor skills have definitely improved. His occupational therapist has been doing some school readiness work with Ronan, with a focus on writing, holding the pencils and a range of activities.” 


Offering a one-stop-shop at Cerebral Palsy Alliance means that Amy can access other beneficial programs and services in one place. He has access to highly skilled and experienced therapists, as well as intensive programs that accelerate the great work achieved through his one-to-one therapy sessions. 

“The Constraint Induced Movement Therapy pirate-themed intensive was also extremely beneficial for him, from a therapy perspective but also for getting ready for school,” Amy said. 

“The opportunities for working with therapists especially in the context of a small group was great and it also helped Ronan with things he needs for school like following instructions, completing activities. 

“Ronan has spent the past eight months learning all over again and having this intensive provided the additional supports he needed in his recovery,” she said. 

This resilient six year old is coming out the other end of his recovery. 


“I would recommend getting in touch with Cerebral Palsy Alliance because they have broad experience in the disability world, and are able to guide you through what can be a very complicated process. They also provide the support and help that you need,” Amy said. 


To find out how Cerebral Palsy Alliance can support your child through Early Childhood Early Intervention contact one of our friendly team on 1300 888 378 or 

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Occupational therapists provide expert support so you can be as independent as possible in your everyday life. We love a challenge!

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