The accident occurred in 1998, when I was twenty years old.
At the time, I was studying at Manchester University doing a geography degree, which I really enjoyed, but couldn’t complete because it was during my course that I had my accident.
I was at a Christmas party, on the 20th December, and was on the roof which I fell through. I had hit my head quite badly and passed out. I felt the consequences of the fall in the following days so I decided to go to the National Neurology hospital on boxing day. They scanned my head and later removed a large blood clot from my brain. After that, I fell into a coma for three months which resulted in my brain injury.
The main challenges I faced after the coma was epilepsy, panic attacks and dysarthria – meaning I could not speak properly. I remember not being able to say much; I could only say a few words at a time so I struggled a lot with that. I also suffered from memory loss and could not remember most of the little things that I use to do. For example, I couldn’t remember how to do shoelaces or a tie.
It was in September 2011 that I was referred to Attend by my Disability Employment Advisor at the job centre who knew Kieran. Since being here, I’ve been attending the ABI Work Choice Programme which has helped me in lots of different ways. Attend has helped me to build my CV; search for jobs online; and fill out applications.
Currently, I am working at McDonalds in the back of house which I really enjoy because it allows me to build upon my experience and has also given me more of a structure to my week. I also get to work in a team there which I really enjoy. Teamwork is crucial in this field – it’s vital to talk, listen and engage with one another to get the results we need, and I believe I’m fulfilling this. I have recently been offered a promotion to cooking duties which they will provide training for.
Attend works so well because the staff here put you in the right frame of mind to work. I had previously gone to the job centre which didn’t really work for me. I felt Attend was better suited for my needs. It was good to meet other ABI clients in a comfortable environment and to find that we were all in the same boat with similar experiences. Attend made me feel ready to get back into paid employment.
The staff are especially helpful. Since being here, I have received a lot of support from Kieran, Anthony and David. David was my mentor when I first arrived and I remember him taking time out to meet with me regularly just to discuss how I was doing. Because of that, Attend have given me the confidence to take a step forward.
In the future, I currently plan to stay at McDonalds to build up my skills. I would also like to work outdoors, for example I would like to do a bit of gardening, or become an environmental cleaner.