Parents and Teenage Stroke

If your teenager has had a stroke, you are sure to have many questions and concerns. As the parent of a teenager, you are parenting someone who is no longer a child, who is maturing and becoming more independent, but who still needs your guiding hand and, of course, your financial support.

Physical Disabilities

Teenagers may develop new disabilities after a stroke. Motor disabilities are easier for everyone to comprehend than thinking disabilities.

Usually, physical therapists, occupational therapists and rehabilitative specialists can objectively define physical and motor disabilities and design training exercises to help with rebuilding skills. Teenagers will likely improve some function and may learn to overcome disabilities by developing effective compensatory skills.

Vision may be affected, potentially interfering with driving. Proper testing is necessary to ensure safe driving.

Thinking Disabilities

After a stroke, your teenager may experience trouble with perception, comprehending information, reading, memory or processing feelings and emotions. A neuropsychologist can assess abilities and make recommendations. It is important for you to allow your teenager the opportunity to read his neuropsychological analysis and to ask questions regarding the potential for improvement.

After a stroke, your teenager can still continue to be a good student, and might still be able to tackle challenging academics or handle an amazing job.

Often, teenagers defy expectations and unexpectedly achieve great things. However, make sure that your teenage stroke survivor understands that there is nothing wrong with requesting school or college ‘students with disabilities’ procedures– such as extra time on exams or a quite place to take exams.


After a stroke, your teenager may have to take medications such as blood thinners or anti-seizure medications. Make sure he understands the consequences of skipping medications and don’t be afraid to double check with your teenager to confirm that he is on top of things. Even if he manages his medications well, a change in routine such as a trip abroad or starting college may throw off his routine.

Moving Forwards/Moving Backwards

Recovering from a stroke does not always follow a straight path. One day, your teenager might feel full of energy and make great progress, and the next day, he might start to decline. Make sure that both you and your teen are familiar with complications and warning signs so you can differentiate between exhaustion and the need for medical attention.

Fear About the Future

After a serious illness, it is not unusual to become scared, depressed or angry. These emotions can affect teenagers after a stroke, parents of teens who have had a stroke, or even siblings.

Often, it helps to meet with a support group or with a counselor for the first months or years after a stroke to help adjust and manage anxiety, anger and fear.

He is a Teenager, not a ‘Stroke’

If your teen is a stroke survivor, keep in mind that he doesn't want to be defined by his stroke or by his stroke-induced disability. His stoke is only a small part of who he is. Make sure that he and everyone around him appreciates him for who is. Don't forget her sense of humor, his ability to make friends easily, her love for animals or his favorite meals.

It is Not Your Story

While you are very invested in your teenager’s life, it is of utmost importance to remember that your teen owns her stroke story. Don't speak for your teen. She might not like it when you tell people the story about the first time she went swimming after her stroke. Or she might love to tell the story- in her own words. She might have her own reasons for not wanting to brag about an achievement or not wanting to talk about how someone was rude towards her. Let your teenager own his story - and give him space to talk about it on his own terms- the good, the bad and the in-between.

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