Speaking Up For Brain Injury Survivors

Re: Dept. of Social Services DSS newest changes to the Acquired Brain Injury Waiver:

Appropriations & Human Services Committees Public Hearing & Meetings on Acquired Brain Injury ABI Medicaid Waiver Renewal & Amendments.
My comment about this and other issues we are facing,

My name is Craig Sears I am an independent man with a brain injury. I have been an active and effective advocate for the brain injury survivor community and a participant in the Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) Waiver Program for several years. Prior to obtaining waiver services, and as a result of a lack of community based supports, I was imprisoned and institutionalized... In the 1990's I became a member of Connecticut's class action lawsuit advocating for Connecticut's Acquired Brain Injury ABI Medicaid Waiver, implemented in 1998. This waiver allows the state to permit organizations to provide non-medical services to people with Traumatic Brain Injury enabling them to live in the community outside of nursing homes and institutions. It is My goal to continue to strive for independence with appropriate supports, and to continue my advocacy efforts for other survivors. With these goals in mind My ABI Waiver Service plan was developed in a truly person-centered cooperative team approach. My specific needs and goals were addressed through the design of a unique employment support program, and structured services, that address my needs.

However, The State of Connecticut found a way of destroying this truly remarkable program and turning the clock back to a time where there was no help for brain injury survivors or their families. CT Brain Injury Support Network said it best this new Waiver is a HUGE step backwards for Brain Injury Survivors in Connecticut! And now, with even more devastating changes proposed, CT is continuing its efforts to dismantle a program that has been highly successful for more than 18 years! This is a stigma for our community as brain injury survivors have fought long and hard to receive treatment specific to our needs and outside of the endorsement and guidance of mental health treatment, because everyone with a brain injury is different and global interventions do not work with our population.

Wake up Connecticut, fact; universal services do not work for brain injury survivors... Traumatic Brain Injury TBI is separate and distinct from developmental and mental health diagnoses. Individuals with developmental disabilities and/or mental health issues may suffer a TBI. However, not all individuals with TBI have developmental or mental health issues. Finally, challenges and interventions implemented with survivors of TBI may be very different from those implemented with individuals with developmental disabilities, mental-health diagnoses and a dual-diagnosis of TBI and developmental disabilities and/or mental health issues. If the Department of Social Services and Office of Policy and Management do NOT understand this they should NOT be writing inappropriate Waiver programs!

You will not understand brain injury until it happens to you or when someone close to you has a concussion or a more serious brain injury, only then can you understand what's happening, and what Connecticut is doing people with Disabilities, with that being said;

It is pretty clear Connecticut either doesn’t care about people with disabilities, or Connecticut is so arrogant that they think they know better than the leading experts - brain Injury survivor’s, family members, advocates, professionals and supporters.

Craig Sears
Brain Injury Survivor
Board Member
CT Brain Injury Support Network