Meet Corey. He currently lives with his Mum and Uncle and has a pet bird named Georgie. Corey works 33 hours a week, is an avid video gamer and is about to start learning to drive.
These are huge achievements, as Corey’s life was turned upside down in 2019 after being hit by a car when he was crossing the road. He sustained a traumatic brain injury (TBI) which affected various areas of Corey’s life.
Corey’s upper limb function, written and verbal communication, cognition and mood were affected due to his injuries. Initially, he had significant global aphasia (language disorder) and was not able to write his own name. There were also some significant barriers to therapy, including lack of motivation and difficulty engaging with therapists and low mood due to his circumstances and injuries. However, through perseverance, rapport building and finding a relatable approach that Corey could engage with, some significant gains were possible.
Corey had set various goals for himself when he returned from hospital. General goals included losing weight, getting strength back, returning function to his right hand and more specifically re-learning to read and write, landing a job and being able to play soccer again.
Something Corey is really proud of is being able to work and the independence that brings to his life, he explains, “This means I can save money and buy things I want like movies/DVDs” as well as take his Mum and Uncle out for meals. Corey works for a heating/cooling manufacturer and has a long-term goal of obtaining his forklift license in order to progress in his workplace. Work, something he didn’t have before the accident, gives him a sense of fulfilment and accomplishment.
Corey acknowledges that it can take the support of a team to get through adversity such as his accident. In addition to the practice and time Corey has put in, his mum, his support worker and his multidisciplinary team of therapists have all played a role in his recovery. “It can be frustrating at times but life is definitely a lot better. I’m still improving bit by bit.”
Corey’s story and the challenges he has faced are unique to him, but highlight just how important individualised and meaningful goals are for engagement, motivation and success.