Peer connections for success: a mentoring program for university students with TBI
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Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a life-altering injury that can impact global functioning. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that yearly 2.2 million Americans experience a TBI, a large portion of whom are children and young adults who then face the prospect of attending university. Data emphasizes the number of younger individuals who may experience symptoms that can limit their ability to complete post-secondary education and continue on to the workforce (Allen & D'Amato, 2010). Individuals who experience a TBI have limited opportunities for advancement due to cognitive challenges and require additional support to achieve their full potential. To address the well-documented academic and employment-related obstacles that may await postsecondary students with TBI following their injuries, Project Career, a multi-site five-year initiative funded by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) was designed to promote the use of cognitive support technology (CST) and intensive case management to improve employment success among college and university students with TBI. The changes in behavior, emotions, communication and physical health experienced after sustaining a TBI are unique to each person, highlighting a need for individualized treatment and support (Cicerone, 2002; Whyte, Polansky, Fleming, Coslett, & Cavallucci, 1995). “Peer Connections for Success: A mentoring program for university students with TBI” will seek to develop a program that uses peer interaction to create individualized support that is grounded in theory and informed by the evidence. Several theories will guide the creation of the intervention; Social Comparison Theory (Festinger, 1954) and Adult Learning Theory (Knowles, 1984) both of which contribute to the best methods of learning for this population. Programs such as this have been applied to different populations however the evidence is limited for use with students with TBI. Evidence was collected to support the methods, assessments, and processes that were utilized in the program.