Nintendo proves game changer for stroke victim

A WOMAN left partially paralysed by a stroke has taught herself to speak again through electronic games.

Grandmother Linda Learmouth, 48, was partially disabled by the stroke five years ago and could only say a few slurred words, which her husband Kelvin found hard to understand.

But the former accountant began a dramatic recovery when her husband bought her a Nintendo DS hand-held games machine for their 25th wedding anniversary a year later.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The mother-of-four became gripped by the device and used self-help puzzle games such as Brain Training and Nintendogs and Cats for hours each day to stimulate her mind and improve her speech.

She now credits the device with helping her to overcome the damage caused by the stroke.

Mrs Learmouth, of Grimsby, said: “It helped me to talk again because some of my games I have to interact with in order for them to work. I have to give instructions verbally and if I don’t say things correctly it doesn’t understand.

“The Nintendo DS gave me my life back. My next door neighbour recently had a stroke and I told him about the console and how much it helped me – he’s got one for himself now and he’s driving again.”

Mr Learmouth, 59, who left his job as a television repair man to look after her, said: “Linda had lost all her speech completely, which was awful. Her words were very slurred and it was hard for me to understand her.

“She just stared into space. It was so hard seeing her like that. She went from being like a young girl to becoming like an old maid.

“I wanted to give her something to do, find some way to bring her back to life. Every year I buy her a rose for our anniversary and take her out for a meal, but that year I bought the Nintendo DS just for a bit of fun really.

“She used to dance all the time, she was so energetic before the stroke and I wanted to find some way of making her feel that again.”

He added: “It’s the best present I’ve ever got her.”

Tina Peck, principal speech and language therapist for Northern Lincolnshire and Goole Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “The type of communication method that is the best for each person needs careful assessment and advice from a trained speech and language therapist. An electronic device can be life-changing for some people but may not always be the best solution.”