Thinking About Work?

Thinking About Work?

Jeffrey S. Kreutzer, Ph.D., ABPP and Stephanie Kolakowsky-Hayner, M.A.
Returning to work or finding a first job after a brain injury can be difficult. This tip card describes psychological, social, and vocational services to help an adult or veteran with an acquired brain injury or TBI determine whether or not to seek employment.
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Full Description

Brain injury Tip Card discusses the pros and cons of working with a disability or brain injury. Describes how to get started when thinking about working. Lists benefits of psychological services, social services, transportation and case management.

Explains vocational services of assessment, referral, counseling, job training, placement and on-site support services after traumatic brain injury or disabilty.

Pages 8, 2nd edition
Year 2007


Stephanie Kolakowsky-Hayner, Ph.D.

She is the Director of Rehabilitation Research at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center in San Jose, CA and the Project Co-Director of the U.S. Department of Education, National Institute of Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) funded Northern California Traumatic Brain Injury Model System of Care. Dr. Kolakowsky-Hayner is also the Project Co-Director of a NIDRR Field Initiated Grant entitled, A New Measure of Subjective Fatigue in Persons with TBI.

Her main interests include ethnicity and cultural issues, return to work, family and caregiver needs, and substance use after injury. She continues as a reviewer for NeuroRehabilitation and Brain Injury, and is an Associate Editor on the Encyclopedia of Clinical Neuropsychology.

Jeffrey S. Kreutzer, Ph.D., ABPP (RP)

He is a Professor with appointments in the Departments of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R), Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry at Virginia Commonwealth Universityís Medical College of Virginia Campus in Richmond. Board certified in rehabilitation psychology, he has more than two decades of clinical experience as a brain injury rehabilitation specialist. Since 1987, Dr. Kreutzer has served as the Director of Virginiaís federally-designated Traumatic Brain Injury Model System. Dr. Kreutzer has co-authored more than 130 publications, most in the area of traumatic brain injury and rehabilitation.


This tip card helps persons with disabilities, families and vocational counselors...

  • decide whether to look for work
  • find services to prepare for work

Getting Started

Psychological Services

Social Services

Transportation Training

Case Management

Vocational Services

  • Assessment and referral

Vocational counseling

  • Job training

Placement services

  • On-site support services

Needs change over time



Sample excerpt. Preview only Ė please do not copy.

Getting Started

After a major illness or injury, many people wonder about work. Some return successfully. Others are convinced they canít work. Some just donít want to work. Many worry about their job skills or limited work experience. Others worry about losing disability benefits if they go to work. A few return to jobs they donít like for less pay. Stress can worsen symptoms and add to uncertainties about the future.

Do any of these people sound familiar?

  • Iím not sure what I can do, but I need to do something.
  • They offered me $5 an hour. Before, I was making $28.
  • Wasnít working before, donít want to work now.
  • My boss thinks Iím a wreck. If I donít quit, Iíll get fired.
  • Even though Iím a mess, I have to support my family.
  • Iíve put in fifty applications, but nobodyís called me.
  • I can keep this job, but I hate it now.

Going back to work may seem very complicated. Finding and getting all the services needed may seem just as complicated. There are a few good ways to start looking for help.

First, contact the people who already know you if you were in a rehabilitation program. Ask them for a recommendations and advice. Second, contact your state department of rehabilitation services. Many have a toll-free number, which can be found in the white pages or state agency section of your telephone book.

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