This year, the Fifth Inter Urban ABI Conference was held in Peterborough, Ontario from October 19th to the 21st. The Inter Urban conference alternates annually with the ABI Network conference to create an informational forum for individuals who are living with a brain injury, their families, and rehabilitation professionals throughout Ontario. This year’s theme of “paddling the rapids” stressed the difficult course of life experienced by persons with a brain injury and their loved ones as they navigate the turbulent waters of recovery and rehabilitation. The conference was very well attended by TBI/ABI survivors, family members and professionals and was well worth the scenic drive from Toronto into the beautiful Peterborough hills, which were ablaze with Fall colour.
Top speakers like Doctors Mark Yvilsacker, Tim Feeney, Chanth Seyonne and Carolyn Lemsky addressed vital topics related to recovery and rehabilitation for children and adults. In addition to the rehabilitation professionals who spoke, there were compelling presentations by brain injury survivors Caron Gan and Rachel Oliver, including a film about a young woman with a brain injury living in her own home called “At Home With Laura.” I also attended several of the survivor presentations, including one which addressed dating.
NRIO presented three sessions. A presentation by Catherine Dodds, NRIO’s School Re-Entry Program Coordinator, focused on behavioural therapy in the classroom setting. Regan Brister, a survivor and Kellie Radley, OT, NRIO’s Clinical Director spoke about Regan’s injury, rehabilitation and recovery. I presented on Attempted Suicide as a Cause of Brain Injury.
Conferences like Inter Urban are vital to the brain injury community. By bringing people together and providing information from multiple perspectives, we’re able to strengthen the quality of treatment and outcomes over time.