By Jess Grieveson-Smith
A stroke survivor who was left unable to speak has unveiled her incredible singing talent – and now it’s helping her find her voice again, EIGHT YEARS later.
After suffering a devastating stroke in 2010, Ann Arscott, 56, from Birmingham, was then was diagnosed with aphasia – a condition linked to strokes and means she suffers speech impairment.
But after realising that she’d still retained her singing talent, she is now utilising it in order to help her find her voice once more.
According to Stroke Association’s research liaison officer – a charity that Ann credits with helping her massively – Dr Sharlin Ahmed, people with aphasia can sometimes sing because a different piece of the brain is activated with music.
He said, ‘There are pieces of research to suggest that music and singing can aid with the rewiring process of the brain,’
It took Ann eighteen months to regain her mobility, but her speech progression has taken much longer.
The former music teacher has continued to sing throughout her recovery and Ann has found that her unique talent has enabled her to massively improve her communication skills.
Trained in jazz and drama, Ann taught the subject and was devastated when she suffered a stroke in the school’s staff room as a result of a blood clot in her brain.
Yet as her family have seen first hand, when Ann sings, her voice appears to come back to its former glory.
Ann, who is now able to say certain words without singing, said: “Singing has always made me happy but I had no idea how useful it would become after my stroke.
“Before the stroke, I sang all over the world and I was trained in jazz.
“I sang in Japan and Europe, in theatres, clubs and open air.
“I was grateful that I hadn’t lost my talent when I woke up in hospital but it has been extremely difficult to communicate without being able to talk normally.”
Sister Janice Pryce said, 59, who works as a nurse practitioner said: “I was at work when I got the call to say that my sister was in hospital and I knew straight away that she had a stroke; I just had a feeling.
“When we went to the hospital she was just lying on the bed, she didn’t recognise anybody.
“She was just looking around, she couldn’t swallow and couldn’t move the right side of her body.
“Over time with speech therapy and physiotherapy, she’s managed to get to a stage where she is mobile but the speech has effected her so much that it has made things difficult.
“Simple things like getting on the bus, asking for directions and explaining herself are incredibly hard.
“But she doesn’t let it stop her from getting out and about and still being a positive person.
“The entire thing was incredibly hard but Ann had always loved to sing.
“Performing and music had been her whole world, and so when doctors suggested that singing might be something that helps, we were eager to see her try it.
“I personally think a lot of it is memory – songs like Amazing Grace were songs she would perform often and she loved, but it’s amazing to see her now.
“When she sings, you can see her performing like before she had the stroke and it’s truly amazing.
“Her speech has improved slowly, and Ann thinks her speech is still improving, gradually.
“Singing truly makes her happy and the fact she likes to perform, and has that confidence, is brilliant.
“She still struggles to find the words though when she talks, so it’s still frustrating, and it can be hard when we’re in public, and they don’t about Ann’s stroke.
“Yet she sings to communicate with her nephew, and she sings his name.
“Carter turns two this month – he loves her and isn’t frightened at all because he doesn’t see the problem, he’s so clever.”
Ann hopes to be able to perform again, to a full crowd and has worked with the Stroke Association in order to raise awareness of how creativity can help in the recovery of stroke sufferers.