Posted on February 5, 2013 · Posted in TBI Voices
This entry is part 31 of 34 in the series Craig

TBI Advocacy: Craig Part Thirty One 

Craig talks about his role in TBI advocacy and his other accomplishments that he is proud of .  His TBI advocacy position has enabled him to make changes in such things as respectful language.

What other TBI advocacy achievements are you proud of? You talked about respectful language?

Yeah, that, that was with People First.    We fought for it, its called People First language.  It’s named after an organization. It’s basically to treat us as a person first and our disability second, that’s our logo, “we’re people first and our disability second.”    We want to be based on what we can do rather than what we can’t do.    We want to based on who we are and not what we see.  And that’s kind of the opposite.  Brain injuries are kind of an oxymoron and that because you know here we’re trying to be based on what you can’t see.    We want people first.

We fought real hard to have to have mental retardation taken out of the language and I know that it just swaps one label for another in time. But, hopefully in time they can figure out a way to stop the label, because the labels are harmful.

I deal with some geniuses in the high schools.    Some of these kids are just incredible.  They’d never get the opportunity because the teachers are so overwhelmed.  How does one teacher teach 30 high needs kids?  So that’s kind of why I’m proud. I’ve helped a lot of kids get into college, get degrees.  I get my energy from the kids and I waste it on the professionals.

Thank you for wasting some time with me.   (With a smile.)

No, not you. I’m talking about, some of the people that don’t, they’re never going to, get it.

Is there any other major category of things that you’ve done in your TBI advocacy that we haven’t chatted about?

Let’s see – we did a food drive.   It was little thing but  for folks with disabilities to get 12 tons of food, that’s pretty impressive.    We’re going to do our major fund raiser this year, nationwide for, and again, the main company don’t get anything.  A “Walk “with Thought.”

You’ve heard of Walk For Thought, right?

Well, we know what we’re thinking, we’re walking “with” it.  And it is to let our communities just kind of know – support for groups rather than some of the organizations some states have (referring to the brain injury associations) because some states just waste the money.  It doesn’t actually go to help anyone, and, so we’re empowering groups to do their own fundraising and create a little money, because it don’t take a lot of money to run a group. Just, a place, and refreshments, and you’d be surprised if you have food how many people come.

Next in Part Thirty Two – TBI Support for Relationships

About the Author

Attorney Gordon S. Johnson, Jr.
Past Chair Traumatic Brain Injury Litigation Group, American Association of Justice :: 800-992-9447