Growing up with ABI – guest post by Owen Pugh

Home/ABI Week, Campaign, Guest Blog Post, News/Growing up with ABI – guest post by Owen Pugh

hand-and-cardWhen I was learning about my newly acquired ABI, it all seemed so confusing. I was so used to hearing the explanation about what had happened to me from doctors and parents that my head felt like it was spinning sometimes, trying to take in all of that information.

At primary school this wasn’t an issue as nobody could take it in and everyone was focussed on seeing if I could make it to secondary school. I did, and that’s where the problems started.

When I got there I was fortunate: I had good support from my family. My parents fought every corner for me because they knew I didn’t know how to explain everything.

But as I got older and moved through the school, the challenges to my ‘disability’ became more obvious. Half my teachers didn’t understand what had happened to me and saw me as just another ‘stupid’ kid who wouldn’t benefit from the kind of education I was getting. Thankfully the other half were on my side and they helped me to succeed.

But that’s where a card like this would have been most useful. Whenever a teacher challenged me on my invisible disability and claimed that I was faking it because I couldn’t recall answers to their questions, that’s when this card, which would have explained everything to them, would have been useful.

It would have said to them that actually, although they couldn’t see it, not all disability is visible and I struggled to recall some precise information, particularly related to my injury. Moreover, it would have told them that I sometimes needed a bit of extra time to answer a question when picked on in class so that I could arrange the thoughts properly in my head.

It would have been particularly useful when playing sport, so that I could explain why I was shy to play contact sports or games where the weakness in my left side, a result of my ABI, would be more visible.

Having a card like this would have substantially helped me as a child because it would have enabled me to become independent from an earlier age. It’s great to have your family on your side but they can’t be there to answer every question. A card like this would have given me the information I needed to stand up for myself and that’s exactly why you should apply for one. It’ll help you make your voice heard, even if you’re not very confident at speaking publicly about your ABI. Sure, kids won’t always get it, but your teachers and other adults will. It’ll give you a leg to stand on when you feel the whole world is falling away from you. Some of you might feel a little nervous about having a card like this but you’re not being asked to wear it like a badge on your chest. It’s a secret weapon you can hide away and use as necessary, like a superpower which will help you through a world that’s sometimes scary and which needs more heroes like you.

To find out more about the Brain Injury Information Cards visit our campaign page here 

To apply for a Brain Injury Information Card email idcard@cbituk.org

 

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