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Sunday, January 5, 2014

Left Neglected

I became a fan of author, Lisa Genova several years ago when writing my book "Still Giving Kisses: A Guide to Helping and Enjoying the Alzheimer's Victim You Love. She is a neuroscientist with an uncanny ability to give insight into the character's soul. We accompanied Alice on the depressing but insightful journey as she regressed through the stages of early onset Alzheimer's disease. Alice was fictional but the impact on family, friends of her rapidly changing world was all too real and familiar as I watched my mother lose functional skills. Fortunately for me my mom always knew who I was, even when nonverbal.... she was still puckering her lips to kiss my cheek.

In Left Neglected, Sarah is a super type A, brilliant, Harvard educated mother of 3 with a talent for multi-tasking and loving, humorous personality that enabled her to survive her modern marriage of equality and stress. Then one day fatigue and distraction caused a car accident that left her with right brain damage and left neglect. Anyone interested in a book filled with neuroscience 101, cute children, overcoming adversity and a happy ending will love this book. As an occupational therapist who has never worked with a brain injured adult with left neglect I was fascinated with the descriptions of PT and OT sessions and the adaptations Sarah used. Much was familiar to me since I worked with vision impaired adults- like placing orange tape on walls to increase awareness and training to turn her head left to scan the left side of the room with her right eye.

Sarah wore jingly jewelry to increase left side awareness and used the same reading guide her young son with a learning disability used to focus on small sections of print and move the eyes all the way to the left border of the page. Left Neglected was in my pile of holiday vacation reading and was amazed that even though I flew to Florida for a week of sunshine and an OT break, I enjoyed learning about Sarah, left neglect and why she gave up skiing to snow board.
Happy New Years !!!  

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