Returning to Work After a Traumatic Brain Injury (and Subsequent Cortical Visual Impairment)

Whether you are an individual who is healing from a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), a family member of a person with a TBI and related brain-based visual impairment, or a service provider, you are here needing direction. You, your loved one, or your consumer is planning to return to work, though currently unable to perform all former job functions.

I have put together a rough plan of action to assist in preparing for a successful return to work:

  1. Physical healing is obviously of utmost importance. The recovery process may take years; follow the physician’s recommendations for rest and time away from work.

  2. Coping with vision loss is an important component of emotional healing; allow yourself to grieve.

  3. Take the time to learn about cortical visual impairment due to traumatic brain injury. Discover how a brain-based visual impairment is assessed and the types of available intervention.

  4. Home and work-related tasks will look different now that you have a visual impairment. To learn techniques that allow you to continue living and working independently, locate a local agency that provides instruction in blindness-specific skills. Some agencies provide services in the home, others provide agency-based services, and others offer residential services requiring a lengthy stay. You may receive training in computer use, reading and writing, home modifications, self-care, financial management, telephone use, leisure activities, traveling, using remaining vision, job training, job modification, job placement, and coping with vision loss.

  5. You will need to learn specific job accommodations to eliminate or minimize workplace barriers due to a TBI and related vision loss. Discover steps for determining accommodations, types of accommodations, and costs of accommodations in the linked article.

  6. The TBI Research Review states the importance of On-The-Job-Training (OJT) for an individual with a TBI who is returning to work. Pursue local Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Services and request OJT, as you can relearn job functions with support.

This journey is difficult; please know that you are not alone. You can connect with others who are blind or visually impaired using AFB Message Boards and by joining a local support group.

Additional Resources for Those with Recent Vision Loss

APH CareerConnect’s Career Success Stories of Those Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired

Newly Blind or Visually Impaired? Read These Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Transportation to Work

To Our Veterans Who Are Recently Coping with Vision Loss