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Tips for Transitioning Back to Academia After a Brain Injury

Tips for Transitioning Back to Academia After a Brain Injury

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[Kelli Williams Gary, PhD] Some of the tips that I would give individuals to help them transition back into an academic setting after brain injury would be 1, to really listen to their healthcare professionals. Those that might have suggested that maybe they try another school or maybe take a step down until you can build some of your basic skills that you've lost. I didn't, in the very beginning, believe that I couldn't gain those skills back easily. I knew I had lost them, but I thought I could just jump back into the same situation and gain those skills back easily. But my learning process was very different. So actually as much as I didn't want to admit it, maybe the best thing would have been for me to go back to a community college setting, and take 1 course at a time. And to build up those skills, and to get used to an academic setting. And get used to studying again and getting used to learning all of the information. So the 1st thing that I would recommend is that people not try to jump back into the same situation. That they look at all opportunities for them to be able to build their skills first. And then do not abandon the idea of moving ahead later. But know that it might be a slow process. And if you're willing to endure that slow process, that you should work towards building your skills instead of trying to jump back into the same situation. I think that was one of the most important things that I learned.

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For Kelli Gary, PhD, one of the hardest lessons she learned was that she had accept the slow process of rebuilding her skills after brain injury in order to ultimately succeed at college.

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Produced by Sharon Ladin, Justin Rhodes, and Lara Collins, BrainLine.


Kelli Williams Gary, PhD, MPH, OTR/LKelli Williams Gary, PhD, MPH, OTR/L is an assistant professor in the department of occupational therapy at Virginia Commonwealth University. She sustained a severe traumatic brain injury in 1991.


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