Since 1982, we have helped to maximize the quality of life for individuals affected by brain injury through education, support, advocacy and increasing public awareness. The association consists of both community members and professionals, and we are continually growing and expanding our resources to better assist those affected by brain injury, and to prevent brain injury through education.
Individual, professional and organizational membership in the Association has grown over the years. Survivors and professionals work together to serve our catchment area which includes the counties of Middlesex, Oxford, Elgin, Huron and Perth. Research indicates there may be at least 3,000 people living with the effects of brain injury in this area, of whom about half are in the London area. From a prevention perspective, the total population of 740,000 must be considered as a target audience.
The services which have been developed to date include: public education and awareness, information resource library, The Monarch (quarterly journal), support groups, the Peer mentor program, an annual weekend camp for survivors, a bicycle helmet distribution program?, social events and referral to other community services. The Association continually looks for other ways to meet members’ needs. Over the past ten years, the Association’s annual June conference has attracted an average attendance of almost 120 professionals and survivors.
On a broader level, we are very active members of the Ontario Brain Injury Association’s Community Support Network. We have conducted advocacy at the provincial level. Examples include a presentation to the Cabinet Committee on Social Development at Queen’s Park, two briefs to the Health Services Restructuring Commission, a presentation to hearings on the Automobile Insurance Rate Stability Act, a presentation on the Ontarians with Disabilities Act and a legal analysis on mandatory bicycle helmet use. Our objective in these activities is to keep the needs of persons with brain injuries in the minds of the elected officials as they seek ways to meet needs with the resources they have.
While support services to survivors and their families are a major part of our work, prevention and education are also important, and we promote safety wherever we can. In recognition of our work in bicycle helmet promotion, we received a Road Safety Award from the Ministry of Transportation for our role in organizing the largest helmet sale in Canada (according to published reports). We have participated with other agencies over the years to promote Safe Kids Week. We have conducted a head protection workshop in an industrial setting (a first for our agency), and continue to offer head protection sessions to groups around the area.