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Brain Inj. 1988 Jul-Sep;2(3):205-23.

Supported employment and compensatory strategies for enhancing vocational outcome following traumatic brain injury.

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Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond.


Epidemiological research clearly indicates that traumatic head injury has reached epidemic proportions. Incidence rates for head injury are greater than those for cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, and spinal cord injury combined. Many victims suffer from long-term impairments in functional, neurological, medical, neuropsychological and linguistic status. Emotional and behavioural problems are common as well. Additionally, family problems often ensue as a consequence of the victim's dependency and concomitant emotional changes. Investigations of post-injury vocational status indicate that unemployment rates within the first 7 years post-injury range as high as 70% for those with moderate and severe injuries. Researchers have demonstrated that the emotional and neuropsychological changes arising from injury are the greatest contributors to reduced employability. Relatively high unemployment rates strongly suggest that traditional approaches to physical and vocational rehabilitation have been entirely inadequate. To complement existing services and enhance employment outcome, two approaches have been developed and refined for use with victims of head injury. Supported employment is a unique approach which assists the client to select, obtain and maintain suitable employment on the basis of his/her interests and abilities. Compensatory strategies have been developed to help the individual offset intellectual problems which would otherwise interfere with learning job skills and maintaining production levels. Often, compensatory strategies are used in the context of a comprehensive supported employment programme. The greater use of supported employment and compensatory strategies is likely to enhance employment outcomes for those with traumatic head injury. Nevertheless, additional research is needed to more clearly identify the types of techniques which work best for each unique set of problems.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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