Posted on October 25, 2011 · Posted in TBI Voices
This entry is part 10 of 20 in the series Steven

School After Severe Brain Injury: Steven Part Ten

It strikes me that you’ve had one sort of bright spot over the last six years which is this return to school after severe brain injury, is that accurate?

Yes sir.

How did you get into school after severe brain injury, this technology center?

I got into the technology center because I was already disillusioned that a disability was ever going to help me and so I felt like I had to get better to be able to support myself because there was nobody to help me whatsoever.  And so I’d gotten involved with that.  Automatically, I like cars and I really had the assumption that it’s a two-year course by the time that the two years is up of that course I’ll be better physically and mentally to be able to handle the job and support myself.

The closer it was getting to the graduation point the more that I guess my deficiencies were like showing. toward it wasn’t going to be a situation I’m going to be able to handle.

But the fact that I wasn’t just locked away in a house somewhere, you know, not talking to anybody ever helped me out.  Just trying to reintegrate myself into society because I really didn’t, was lacking in social…  I don’t know what the word is I’m looking for.

Challenges? Opportunities?

No just maybe just social interactions.


I don’t, that’s not really the point I’m looking for.  Oh well, I lose words a lot.   But you kind of understand.

The word he was looking for was probably skills, i.e. “social skills.”

You went to school after severe brain injury in a two-year program to learn to fix cars?

Yes sir.

Can you fix a car?

Something easy. I mean I have kind of problems with like I can’t diagnose and things like that and a lot of the things that are just probably common knowledge I’ve forgotten.  I guess maybe because I’m one of those people that have to reintegrate things over and over and over before I’ll actually retain them.

Can you continue to go to school after severe brain injury, the technology center now that you’ve “graduated” or is that the DVR basically giving up on spending more money on you?

Actually I’m going to a community college now.  I started going to after I graduated from that and when I finally got my disability.  The stress and worry I was having about where I’d live from one day to the next wasn’t as much of a burden to where I could almost focus on school solely a little bit better.

Hillary Clinton said it takes a community to raise a child.  Without community, there is no recovery from brain injury.  The term of art is “community integration”, but what that means is that in order to relearn social skills, manners, to do again those things that 25 year olds do that 12 years don’t, you must be around other people.  There is a natural isolation that comes with brain injury. Old friends are lost, new friends hard to make.  If there is no family, the natural stagnation that comes after brain injury can result in catastrophic losses long term.

Steven could see the dark cloud of nightmare in his future.  While his plan for the future had flaws, that journey down that path may have saved him because of school after severe brain injury.

Next in Part Eleven – The Process of Learning After a Severe Brain Injury

By Attorney Gordon Johnson


About the Author

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