A young father who suffered a stroke that left him paralysed is learning to walk and talk again – after copying his baby daughter.
Mark Ellis, from Derbyshire, now uses a walking aid to get around and his “speech has come on a lot” in the time since he left hospital.
His wife, Amy, says the pair use books and toys to learn how to do things and communicate.
She commented: “I was told not to expect anything from Mark after his stroke so I’m overwhelmed by how well he’s done. Anything and everything he does now is just amazing.”
Mr Ellis had the stroke in 2010 and was put in an induced coma. A week later he became conscious – but could only communicate by rolling his eyes.
He was reportedly suffering from locked-in syndrome – which means his mind was active but he could not move his body.
Following months of intense physiotherapy and speech therapy Mr Ellis was able to sit up and feed himself.
Medical staff suggested that if he tried to copy his baby daughter Lola-Rose – who was making babbling noises – he might learn to speak again.
Soon after he began to make the same sounds and then progressed to meaningful words.
By March last year Mr Ellis was able to leave hospital using a walking frame.
His wife said: “There wasn’t much time between him and Lola-Rose both taking their first steps. I think Mark took his first steps a week or two after Lola.”
“They use toys, books, games and the iPad together to learn how to do things and communicate.”
Dr Srivas Chennu, a neuroscientist at the University of Cambridge, said the case was “remarkable” and “rare”.
Dr Chennu said: “In this case it seems like – if you believe his wife’s interpretation – the salient influence of his daughter’s recent birth and growing up was strong enough to help him recover.”