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Life after a brain injury

Work and school

This information will help you know what to expect when you’re thinking about going back to work or school.

Going back to work

Work is a big part of most of our lives. It makes us feel responsible and that we’re doing something positive. It allows us to depend less on others for money, spend time with others, and gives us structure and a routine to follow. Those who are able to work after brain injury are usually healthier and feel better about themselves than those who don’t.

Going back to work depends on how you’re doing and how bad your brain injury is. A brain injury can cause many changes in behaviour, feelings, communication, and thinking skills. This can make it hard to do the same job you did before your injury.

Even if you can’t work after the injury, there are other things you can do to keep busy and feel fulfilled. This could be volunteering or finding new hobbies or activities.

There are agencies and rehabilitation programs to help you reach goals to go back to work. This may include:

  • retraining or learning a new job
  • helping you find a job
  • teaching you how to use apps, programs, and assistive devices and technology to help you communicate or do your job (like text-to-speech and word-predicting apps and programs, using larger keyboards and screens, and using pencil grips)
  • using larger font or changing certain settings on your screen (like hue and brightness)
  • suggesting to your employer that you work fewer hours or do other types of tasks at work

Going back to work after a brain injury can be challenging and rewarding. The rehabilitation team will work with you to regain or develop job skills that’ll be the best fit for you. You might have to change your work hours or daily tasks to make sure you can attend your appointments.

Talk to a health professional, such as a physiatrist or occupational therapist, to learn more about going back to work.

Going back to school

Along with learning, school helps us find friends, support, and learn social skills. In some cases, you don’t notice the effects of a brain injury, such as remembering things, trouble concentrating, or paying attention, until you’re back at school. This is because at school you need to think more and spend more time with others.

Schools, colleges, and universities have support for students with disabilities. You can arrange to:

  • have extra time for tests
  • do tests in a quiet place
  • be put in a class with less noise and distractions (things going on around you)
  • record the lectures
  • review your teacher’s or a classmate’s notes
  • get a copy of your assignments
  • have a place to take a break or rest
  • get tutoring

In many cases, your parents and family members will arrange the services you need to help you at school.

Your rehabilitation team and teachers at school may also work together to help you plan your return to school. The rehabilitation team can let you know what resources are offered by schools and other healthcare services.

Talk to members of your rehabilitation team, such as your physiatrist, speech therapist, or occupational therapist, for more information about going back to school.​

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