“We didn’t know children could have strokes.” Nolan’s family shares their story.

Did you know that children can have strokes? About 1 in 2,000 children will have a pediatric stroke in their lifetime.

Nolan, now 13 years old, experienced a stroke in his earliest stages of life.

“We didn’t know children could have strokes,” said his mother, Barbara.

When Nolan began crawling as a child, his family noticed that he was having difficulty since he would continue falling. The realization escalated when he began to drag the right side of his arm while crawling.

At 11 months, his family took Nolan for a visit with his doctor to address his crawling concerns. As a result, they recommended that he see a neurologist for further insight into his condition.

The neurologist scheduled an MRI to get a closer look at his brain. After examining the results, Nolan’s doctor determined that Nolan had experienced a stroke.

Doctors were unsure whether Nolan experienced the stroke during delivery or in the maternal stages of carrying.

The doctors told his family that Nolan may not be able to walk or talk from the complications of the stroke. This was concerning news for his parents and left them worrying about the next steps.

“The doctors said that I will need a brace to help with the right side of my body,” said Nolan.

After over a year, Nolan and his family began seeing improvements in his developmental performance. He started talking when he was about three and a half years old and enjoyed every moment of it. His mom said, “he started talking like crazy.”

Nolan was enrolled in occupational, physical, and speech therapy at the age of two and continues to participate with others through a program called “PIE.” It gives children a safe space to work on communication and build friendships through therapy integrated activities.

As a result of the stroke, he has experienced seizures throughout the years. These seizures may not appear in children until they turn seven or eight years old following the stroke.

“I am constantly getting therapy and working hard to keep my body strong and growing. I have to remember my daily medications, so I don’t have seizures. It is important to always eat healthy to stay strong,” Nolan explained.

Nolan and his family are passionate about spreading awareness about pediatric strokes. In doing so, Nolan participates in the Kid’s Heart Challenge through the American Heart Association.

He describes his experience participating in the program, “The American Heart Association is great and the Kids Heart Challenge is a great way to get friends and family educated about heart disease and stroke.”

May is American Stroke Month. To learn more about the signs and symptoms of a stroke in children, visit the American Heart Association’s website.