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Kate Adamson, MSW



"Kate was wonderful!  She presented an outstanding inspirational program for our Neuroscience Lecture. Kate is a lovely person and couldn’t have been kinder to work with. I thank you so much for your work and helping us line up Kate. I highly recommend her. Our doctors were pleased, the organization was pleased and I was thrilled with the outcome.  Looking forward to working with you again." -- Sally Buchholtz, Community Education Specialist, Corporate Communications & Marketing, ProHealth Care, Waukesha, WI

Stroke Survivor: Paralyzed but not Powerless

Against one-in-a-million odds, Kate Adamson, overcame total paralysis from a devastating double brainstem stroke. Except for a faint heartbeat, she appeared dead. But she was very much alive! It was as if she was locked in a glass coffin, aware of everything going on around her, unable to communicate – at all.

She desperately tried to find a way to let others know she was alive. Days passed. Then she discovered she could blink. She could do two things and only two: She could think and she could blink. That’s all. But it was enough. She communicated by blinking out letters to an alphabet chart. Enlisting the help of professionals who now realized she was alive and aware, she began her long slow journey back to life.

Earning her MSW after her stroke recovery, this determined survivor of Locked-in Syndrome shares with audiences everywhere her incredible story of recovery from total paralysis. With wit, humor and great “audience-interactive proof” she demonstrates to professional/medical providers that paralysis is not powerlessness and they can indeed achieve the impossible by focusing on the possible – for themselves and their patients.

Kate Adamson, MSW, was appointed to the University of Southern California (USC), Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy Board of Counselors and serves on the Advisory Board for Successful Aging with Disability (she is a former board member of the Stroke Association of Southern California). Kate was the subject of a major fund raising film produced by the American Heart Association and served as a national spokesperson for the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association.

In May 2018, she graduated with a Master’s of Social Work (MSW), from California State University, Long Beach. Her story has been featured in national magazines; Redbook, Prevention, Vim & Vigor, Caregiver, Stroke Smart, Stroke Connection, The Female Patient. She was one of five national finalists’ in Prevention Magazine’s Picture of Health promotion and has appeared on Larry King Live, Good Morning America, The Bill O’Reilly Factor, The Abrams Report, Fox News, MSNBC, ABC, NBC, 700 Club, Coral Ridge Ministries, TBN and Lifetime.

Her presentation “Paralyzed but not Powerless: One Hand Clapping” is easily customized to addresses various audiences and topics.

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One Hand Clapping: Paralyzed but not Powerless

This powerful presentation engages your audience and lets them experience what it is like to face million-to-one odds and still prevail. Once considered “dead”– her life not worth saving – Kate recovered from locked-in syndrome (total paralysis) and is now a professional author and speaker. Kate’s presentation shows her audience that the techniques she used to overcome her paralysis can help them overcome professional and organizational paralysis. Kate’s story demonstrates that there is nothing you cannot accomplish with the right attitude and the right tools.


One Hand Clapping: Appreciation before Accommodation

This presentation focuses on disability issues including human resources and compliance issues. Kate shows that employees and executives who have had to persist in spite of disabilities tend to develop uncommon creativity, determination, and resourcefulness that can lead to extraordinary contributions in the work place. Accommodation held in this context becomes a wise business move and a pleasure for all. Kate is determined to shift the attitude and approach of businesses and government agencies regarding disability accommodation. She shows employers how to shift the burden of straight jacket regulations, policies, procedures and legal requirements that the government forces upon them, into opportunities to increase efficiency and productivity in their workplaces.


Kate’s Story: The View from the Other Side of the Bed

This presentation gives healthcare professionals and patients’ advocate and support groups a chance to see the view from the other side of the bed. Kate shares her experience of being a critically ill hospital patient, unable to communicate but fully aware of the work going on around her. She speaks about the contribution that doctors, nurses, physical and vocational therapists, hospital administrators and even insurance companies made in her recovery.  Kate’s husband, attorney and patient advocate, Steven Klugman, is available to participate in breakouts and panel discussions and shares valuable insights into the role of an advocate. Her experience powerfully illustrates the miracle of healing and the opportunity for healthcare professionals at every level to bring about that miracle.


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