There are few injuries as life-changing as a traumatic brain injury, and survivors and their families often need extra support. That’s where our Adult Brain Injury (ABI) team steps in.
Traumatic brain injuries are changes in brain function caused by an outside force, including falls, car accidents, assaults, sports injuries, and military actions.
The effects from brain injuries vary widely, affecting speech, motor skills, memory, personality, and more. These changes can be temporary or life-long, depending on the location and severity of the injury. Some survivors adapt relatively quickly, but for others it’s a life-long process.
Our ABI team helps adult traumatic brain injury survivors adapt to their post-injury life — connecting them to resources, providing support, checking in on them regularly, and advocating on their behalf. Those eligible can also receive additional resources, such as counseling or vocational training.
“If you survive a traumatic brain injury, life is going to look and feel different,” explains Service Coordinator, Wendy Moore, who has worked with survivors for over two decades. “We have to sit down and say, okay, tell me about your new normal. What are the goals you want to reach? How can we support you?”
Ultimately, the ABI team’s goal is to help clients raise their level of independence, whatever that might mean for them.
“It may not look like independence to you, but it is for that person,” says Moore. “Just because it’s different from what they had before doesn’t make it any less meaningful.”
Her words reflect her clients’ reality of living with a brain injury: the effects are incredibly individualized, so there’s no single path to follow or “correct” way to live their changed life. There’s no timeline for recovery, either — she’s worked with some program participants for many years.
But whatever the nature of a survivor’s journey, all deserve to have the support they need along the way.
The good news for those embarking on that journey here in Jackson County: multiple resources are within reach.
In addition to our ABI team, which serves both Jackson County and the surrounding area, the local chapter of the Brain Injury Association of America operates out of Kansas City and offers support groups, seminars, referrals, and other resources, including those for caretakers.
If you or a loved one are struggling due to a brain injury, don’t hesitate to reach out — there’s an entire community ready and willing to help you.
To connect to the main office of the statewide ABI Program, call 1-800-451-0669. Individuals who are deaf, hard-of-hearing, or have a speech disability can call 711 or 1-800-735-2966.
To learn more about traumatic brain injuries, visit biausa.org.
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