In March 1999 I had a car accident which dramatically changed my life. The resulting brain injuries left me having to learn basic functions like walking and talking virtually from scratch – but that wasn’t the hardest part of my recovery.
The tough parts, I found, were based around other people. Friends and family who knew me and were fully aware of what had happened didn’t really know how best to help and weren’t really sure how to act and react around me.
Then there were the people who had no idea what had happened; the people we all come across and interact with on some level hundreds of times a day in our daily lives – shop staff, people walking by in the street, street canvassers, restaurant staff, other people walking their dogs. Because brain injuries are invisible these people had no idea that anything was wrong with the rude bloke stood before them who wouldn’t reply to them, or the drunken looking imbecile who couldn’t walk in a straight line, or the very ‘special’ man who would burst in to fits of laughter or floods of tears for no apparent reason.
Because brain injuries are invisible it’s impossible for people to know that there’s a reason for this behaviour and even people who do know that there’s a problem are quick to forget.
Physically, I recovered very quickly. The ability to make my body move on demand returned, for the most part, in just a few months. Talking was much slower to get back to normal; I could make myself understood but my vocabulary was very restricted and my ability to respond in conversation was greatly inhibited because I couldn’t process what was being said to me fast enough to illicit an immediate response. The injuries also altered, entirely, my moods and behaviour
Twelve years on I still suffer, occasionally, with slurred speech if I’m very tired meaning that I sometimes have to choose my words very carefully and I still suffer with a slight facial palsy on my right side (almost invisible unless, ironically, I’m tired or very cold), inhibited sensation in my left arm and the odd bout of trigeminal neuralgia (severe pains in my face). On the brighter side I no longer have ‘mood swings’ and I’m glad to say that I behave myself – most of the time!
I have a great empathy for anyone who has suffered a brain injury of any kind, child or adult. Brain injuries are difficult to cope with for all concerned from the ‘victim’ to their families and friends. Kids in particular get a very hard time because they often appear to be just badly behaved children and branded as ‘trouble makers’.
The Children’s Trust understand this. They understand all of this and can help.
The Children’s Trust have a vast wealth of experience and a superb pool of expertise with helping children with acquired brain injuries through recovery and rehabilitation and helping them to prepare for the rest of their lives.
The Children’s Trust also offer guidance and support to the families and friends of these children; they help them to understand the injury and its implications, how to help and what the long-term ramifications are.
The services and support offered by the Children’s Trust play an essential role in helping children with aquired brain injuries and their families enjoy a good quality of life.
Just like any charity, the Children’s Trust need financial support for them to continue their work, but, just as importantly, the plight of children with brain injuries needs more exposure to the public at large to take away the stigma attached.
That’s whatmy first charity event for the Children’s Trust this year, the ‘Channel to Channel‘ trip is all about. Yes, it’s about fun and yes it’s about raising funds for charity, but it’s also about highlighting the fact that not all kids are misbehaving – they may just have a brain injury!
Please, follow the ‘Channel to Channel’ journey and if there’s any way at all that you can help or get involved please contact me
If you’d like to support my work and help to fund the expeditions please click on the link below
- 'Channel to Channel' (18)
- In The Spotlight (18)
- Interesting Links (7)
- Justin's Blog (105)
- Kilimanjaro Climb (2)
- North 2012 (2)
- Schools Blog (6)
- Team Development and Leadership Training (5)
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