Kara Eldridge OTR/L

In November of 2006, my 54-year-old father suffered a stroke. He was a healthy man who had served his country in the Coast Guard for more than 35 years and had just begun enjoying his new career in the civilian world when devastation struck. His right side was paralyzed, his speech was non-existent, and his cognition was indeterminable. He could not walk, speak or even hold a fork. The fallout from a freak medical coincidence struck him down in the prime of his life. As most tragedies do, my father’s stroke changed my family’s plans and affected all of our lives profoundly.

I spent a lot of time with my father during his recovery and watched him struggle to learn how to walk, speak and even brush his own teeth. I was privileged to witness the efforts of various people such as occupational therapists, speech language pathologists and physical therapists, and the results they were able to achieve were truly inspiring. I was in awe of these professionals who provided my father with the tools to increase his independence, though I did not realize the extent of this influence until I lost my job as an architect four years later. I was forced to examine whether architecture was providing me the purpose that I had always hoped to achieve in my professional life, and the answer was no.

I decided to go back to school, eventually earning my Master of Occupational Therapy degree from the University of St. Augustine and have focused on assisting the neurological population since my graduation in 2017. I have worked exclusively with neurological and traumatic brain injury clients for the last 4 years and specialize in assisting patients to address visual deficits and enjoy encouraging all of my patients to grab life by the horns and continue to ride.

In my free time I enjoy doing aerial arts, exercising, reading a good book, traveling, and spending time with friends, family, and my cats Jack and Gaspar.