Personal Story

Impact Feature Issue on Paraeducators Supporting Students with Disabilities and At-Risk

Supporting Outdoor Adventures: CH's Story

C.H., age 35, was in an accident when he was 14 that resulted in a traumatic brain injury. He lives fairly independently in an assisted living complex and works in the community as part of a supported team of people with brain injuries. He’s successful in his home and work environments, but his brain injury does play a role in his life, as it always will. C.H. sometimes feels as though he is stuck at age 14.

C.H. has been coming to Wilderness Inquiry with the Friday afternoon group for over a year. He likes volunteering because it gives him an opportunity to get out into the community and be productive. He can practice the skills he knows and learn new ones without paying an instructor. He also enjoys the environment at WI. The people are nice and it doesn’t feel as rigid as paid work can be sometimes.

C.H. recently participated in a special program at WI that focused on further developing the social skills that help him to be accepted in integrated settings. He and nine other individuals with cognitive disabilities went on a five-day camping and canoeing adventure in Voyageurs National Park during which staff helped participants learn how to work cooperatively in a wilderness setting. He had a good time, in spite of the mosquitoes always finding the one place missed by the repellant.

Contributed by C.H. and by Jill M McKibbons at TBI Metro Services.