Sunday, June 19, 2011

Living with Brain Injury Conference

So much to tell and so little time!!  Many of my blog readers know me as an author, publisher and artist but in my real world job I work as in rehabilitation supports for adults who have suffered traumatic brain injuries.  This past week was our annual conference, Life with Brain Injury in Columbia, SC, sponsored by the Brain Injury Alliance of South Carolina. What and exciting few days it was!  The panels were awesome and I was fortunate to be involved with the one my boss at HASCI produced, called "Rewriting My Story."
The presentation featured interviews with three of our clients and focused on ways people find meaning and purpose in life after brain injury.  My interview was with a client of mine who I assist in a number of ways, but most recently in helping him get his first short story published in the online and print magazine Sein and Werden out of Britain. He is an exceptional writer in an avant garde surrealist way and this was his first publication. What is even more incredible is that he wrote a fictional story about his immediate experiences after he awoke from his coma and he wrote it a year after his injury.  Amazing for someone who can no longer read due to visual scanning issues or type due to left hand neglect. But he's great with computers and uses assisstive technology such as a program on his MAC which speaks out loud anything he highlights in emails,Word, etc and another program called Dragon Dictate which will type what he says into a microphone. 
The conference included a number of experts in the field with very valuable presentations and panel discussions. I learned so much in a very short time and enjoyed meeting others invested in brain injury from all over the state. The hotel was very nice, except for the fire alarm going off three times during the wee hours of the first morning we slept there.  And I felt very fortunate that the painting and drawing I donated to the silent auction sold at good prices all to benefit the Brian Injury Alliance. I also won a great circa 1967 great print, Pirate's Alley, by New Orleans/San Francisco artist, Don Davey in the auction so the trip turned out to be kind of a working working vacation for me. I didn't get to see much of Columbia, a city I'm fascinated but not too familiar with, and there was no time to visit The Whig or the book store I love, but it was a highly beneficial trip in so many ways. Its given me new inspiration and ideas for the Drop in Center and my individual sessions. I'm lucky to work with the most amazing, courageous, caring  and always interesting folks I work with - both staff and clients.

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