Employment and Vocational Rehabilitation For Brain Injury Survivors by Chrissy Stamegna
Posted on March 3, 2023
Returning to work or finding new employment after a brain injury can be a difficult and emotional journey for both the survivor and their loved ones. While the process may seem overwhelming, many resources and strategies are available to help brain injury survivors return to work, including vocational rehabilitation and job training programs.
Challenges of Returning to Work
After a brain injury, survivors may face physical, cognitive, and emotional challenges that can affect their ability to work. The following are some common challenges that brain injury survivors may face when returning to work:
- Physical limitations: Depending on the nature of the injury, a brain injury survivor may experience physical limitations such as mobility issues, fatigue, and chronic pain, which can make it difficult to perform job duties that require extended periods of standing, walking, or lifting.
- Cognitive impairments: Brain injuries can impact memory, attention, organization, and problem-solving skills, making it difficult to complete tasks, follow instructions, or meet deadlines at work. This can be especially challenging for survivors who work in fast-paced or high-pressure environments.
- Emotional challenges: Brain injury survivors may experience a range of emotional challenges, such as depression, anxiety, and mood swings, which can affect their ability to focus, communicate effectively, and get along with coworkers.
Vocational rehabilitation is a service that can help brain injury survivors identify job opportunities, acquire the necessary job skills and training, and receive ongoing support to succeed in the workplace. Here are some of the ways vocational rehabilitation can help brain injury survivors:
- Job coaching: Survivors can work with a vocational rehabilitation counselor who can provide guidance and support with resume building, job applications, and interviewing skills. Job coaches can also assist with memory impairments by providing reminders and task completion support.
- Accommodations and support: Vocational rehabilitation can help survivors identify the accommodations they need to succeed in the workplace, such as ergonomic workstations or assistive technology. The counselor can also work with the employer to provide support and accommodations as needed.
- Re-training and job placement: Many brain injury survivors may need to learn new job skills or re-train for a new career. Vocational rehabilitation can help survivors identify job opportunities that match their interests and abilities and provide training and job placement services.
Benefits of Vocational Rehabilitation
- Provides survivors with the necessary accommodations and support to succeed in the workplace.
- Returning to work can help survivors maintain or regain their sense of identity and purpose.
- It can help brain injury survivors re-enter the workforce with confidence and independence.
- It can allow survivors to connect with others, build social connections, and feel a sense of belonging in the workplace.
Job Training and Skill Development
Job training programs can help brain injury survivors learn the skills and knowledge required to be successful in their jobs. Here are some ways job training can help brain injury survivors:
- Provides a supportive and structured environment to practice job skills.
- Offers opportunities to build self-esteem and confidence.
- It can give the survivors a sense of purpose and accomplishment.
- It can help survivors acquire new job skills or re-train for a new career.
By working with vocational rehabilitation counselors and job coaches, survivors can identify job opportunities that match their interests and abilities, receive the necessary training and support to achieve their career goals and regain a sense of purpose and independence.