3. Practical advice and tips for carers > Perceptual Problems

Perceptual Problems

1) Understanding perceptual problems

Perception is our ability to take information from the world around us and make sense of it. This can be through seeing, smelling, touching, hearing or tasting in other words using all our senses.The way the person is able to understand or perceive what is around them can be damaged after a  stroke. People who experience this are considered to have a perceptual problem. These perceptual problems can take many forms and can be complicated to explain or understand. Not every person who has a stroke will have a perceptual problem.

Some perceptual problems can seem like a memory loss or a communication problem but they are not. For example the person may seem slower or more hesitant when attempting tasks. They are trying to make sense of the world around them which seems different. They may have difficulty in explaining what they have to do next.

Remember perceptual problems are due to the damaged areas of the brain not damage to the eye or other senses. The photograph below/right shows what it may look like for a person with neglect from their view and with loss of perception to one side. The following pages explain more about some of the common perceptual problems after stroke.

Left sided neglect

However if you have had a stroke affecting the right side of your brain you may perceive that you don’t have either a left arm or leg. Alternatively, you may simply remain unaware that they have been affected by a stroke.