Advocacy by and for People with ABI (Acquired Brain Injury)
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National Standards for Postsecondary (College Level) Brain Injury Programming
The Brain Injury Network, a survivor-led and operated association of people with acquired brain injuries from traumatic brain injury (tbi), stroke, tumor, illness and other abi categories, is advocating for national standards for acquired brain injury programs at colleges and universities. Indeed, international standards are needed. But since the Brain Injury Network originates in California, U.S.A., we are first calling for standards to be implemented in the United States of America.
It has dawned on us that new laws are needed to protect adults with cognitive challenges who attend colleges all across the United States. It may be possible for the interested parties to help formulate and pass laws that will help the millions of survivors in the national brain injury community. Therefore, this information is now being disseminated across the United States to the stakeholders we can think of in the hopes that you will join BIN in calling for these laws, standards, and reforms.
New, effective August 1, 2006: BIN is calling for a system of regulation, review and standards nationwide for utilization in college and other post-secondary disability programs.
Regulation, Review and Standards For College and Other Post-Secondary Level Disability Programs Are Needed
Nationwide standards are needed in post-secondary programs for adult students with acquired brain injuries. Such standards must be based on sound educational and rehabilitative theory. Such standards must provide model protocol and programming objectives for college and university level disability programs for adults with cognitive challenges. Please see program recommendations on this website for some ideas regarding standards.
REGULATION OF COLLEGE DISABILITY PROGRAMS:
There must be regulation of college disability programs. If someone is mistreated at a hospital or nursing home, in California there is a state agency regulator that can be contacted so that an investigation will be launched and conducted. There needs to be such a system for college disability programs, so that if there is a criminal event or harm or even death comes to a student when they are at a college, the student or the victim’s family, or other concerned citizens can make a complaint that will be investigated, and appropriate corrective action will be undertaken. As it is now, who even has the authority to investigate a college’s disability programming or order a college to improve the quality of its disability related programming?
REVIEW OF COLLEGE DISABILITY PROGRAMS:
Who reviews these college disability programs to determine if they are up to standard? What is the standard they must meet? Has anyone set down a standard that they must meet to qualify as a good disability program? We don’t think so. Sometimes we have self-promoting service providers who work at colleges announcing to the world via conferences, web sites, etc. that they have instigated model programs, or that they have created the best programs around. Who is to say that that is true without sophisticated, theoretical review? And sometimes there will be crackerjack programs, but how can they stand out when they have to compete with lesser quality programs if there is no independent, critical review that establishes what truly is a good or even exceptional program. Such review will also help consumers make educated choices regarding their college disability program selections. Statewide and even nationwide standards, along the lines of CARF standards and methods of review, are needed in these college disability programs.
PUBLIC ACCESS TO INFORMATION ABOUT COLLEGE DISABILITY PROGRAMS:
Further, in California members of the public may review the statistics about hospitals, nursing homes, etc. Where is any record about the efficacy of a college disability program maintained, that the public can research in order to decide which college disability programs are good programs? Information is maintained regarding whether or not hospitals and nursing homes meet standards to properly care for their patients. Deficiencies are reported. It is our understanding that no such nationwide or even statewide regulatory system exists regarding college disability programs. If and when regulations are formulated regarding college disability programs, there will need to be a database the public can access to read about the quality of a college’s disability related programming, the deficiencies of any program and the corrective actions required to meet basic standards.
Although our experience is in California, BIN invites residents of other states to pursue similar legislation in their own states.