Brain injury can leave an individual with a number of persistent impairments that interfere with finding and keeping a job. These problems may be cognitive (difficulties with attention, memory, communication, reasoning, problem-solving), physical (weakness or lack of coordination in arms or legs, impaired vision, fatigue, sleep problems), emotional (vulnerability to depression, difficulty controlling anger or anxiety), or behavioral (being impulsive, social inappropriateness).
After sustaining a brain injury, an individual may experience difficulty performing his or her job safely, or in the same manner. Some may find they need to find other employment, while others can request adaptations in their workplace to accommodate their new needs.
Having a conversation with your employer, supervisor, or human resources department is a good opportunity to discuss your options and needs once you go back to your job. Below are some suggestions and things to keep in mind for the discussion:
- Returning to work gradually; for example, starting at three mornings a week or even working from home for a period of time
- Returning with shorter hours
- Taking more breaks throughout the day
- Returning with less workload
- Taking on a different role
Keep in mind that employment encompasses rural and urban opportunities including agriculture, self-employment and working for others.
Once you return to work, it is important to communicate with your employer and others regularly to decide if the adaptations are working to both parties’ benefit, or if further changes are necessary.
Contact the Brain Injury Association of Missouri regarding vocational-related services for persons with brain injury at 1-800-444-6443.