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What can be done to address discrimination against people with brain injuries?

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Division Director PM&R

Answer transcribed from Brightway's interview with Dr. Thomas Franz:

I would say the same thing that helps to address discrimination across the board, which is education and getting people out in the community and interacting with folks. What you know and what's familiar is not as scary, so I think podcasts like this, television programs, websites with information that caregivers can access, take the fear and the mystery out of it. People just need to understand that unlike other types of situations where people are discriminated against, anybody could tomorrow become a member of the brain-injured survivor class and be potentially subject to discrimination. 


The other thing is being open if you don't know much about brain injury and you're dealing with somebody with one. Just ask in thoughtful, respectful way questions that you know can be helpful, and don't make assumptions. Unfortunately, I hear from patients all the time and I've witnessed myself that it's very common with people with all sorts of disabilities that when they're out in public, people don't talk to them. They talk to the person with them and they talk about them as if they're not able to process the information. It really is important to just interact and have as normal interaction as you can and I know that's a buzzword but still, I think that's probably the best way for people to understand it. Again, I would say back to the golden rule: treat people the way you would like to be treated in a similar situation. That goes a long way towards ending that kind of things. Frankly, getting the word out if you have the ability to be politically active and there are options to get information in front of legislators and agencies who provide assistance, that goes a long way too. Also, join support organizations.