Submitted by Alex Buchman, Employment Consultant
Alex is one of our employment consultants at Easterseals Crossroads; his specialty is working with individuals who have traumatic brain injuries (TBI). The individuals with whom he works have varied experiences as to how they acquired their brain injury either through events such as a car accident, seizure disorder or a blow to the head.
Ken acquired his TBI from a stroke in 2006, which resulted in right side paralysis and severe aphasia. He has a significant barrier with his speech and now has a limited vocabulary. Ken is a big car enthusiast and has worked on cars his entire life; his dream job was to continue to work on cars with the challenge of learning to do so with only one side of his body.
To see how Ken learned to accommodate challenges in order to find an employment opportunity, Alex spent time with Ken in his home and garage to see how he worked. Ken was able to demonstrate his new-found methods, which helped Alex understand how best to approach an employer.
After brainstorming potential employment fits, Alex found an opportunity at O’Reilly Auto Parts as a delivery driver. Ken had mentioned on multiple occasions his interest in O’Reilly because he had often shopped there for his own car repairs. Together with the employer, Alex and Ken worked to create effective communication strategies for successful employment, where Ken has now been working since May 2017.
As with Ken’s story, Alex often needs to determine if an individual has the capability to return to the industry where he/she was once employed. Individuals with traumatic brain injuries are not always able to return to the same type of employment they enjoyed prior to an injury. When that is the case, our employment consultants can assist people with new directions for employment.
In the employment division, our consultants work with employers in every field from kitchens to hotels to legal offices and more. After an individual gains an employment situation, our consultants take many steps to ensure that both the employer and employee are happy with the match. Our consultants stay present on the job site (if needed) to provide hands on job coaching and often act as advocates for the match.
Even after this initial level of support, we still visit each individual on a regular basis to not only check on performance, but also to provide the opportunity to express any issues or concerns.
Potential employers who want to work with us can be assured that we consistently have a wide range of individuals with varying strengths and possibilities with whom we work. All of our program participants have the potential to be successful when given the appropriate supports to become very reliable and hard workers.
I think what helps a company trust and feel comfortable with us at Easterseals Crossroads is the fact that we partner with businesses to provide successful outcomes. When an employer approaches us with an issue or concern, we respond with a plan of action. This genuine approach leads to a much healthier and supportive environment for everyone involved.~ Alex Buchman, Employment Consultant