Adolescents with TBI: A Dream Deferred?

[Mariann Young] I had a kid who had no physical disabilities [Mariann Young, PhD] [Clinical Psychologist – Rainbow Rehabilitation Centers, Inc.] who came to us after entering high school and said, "I wish I was in a wheelchair, "because I don't fit in, and people don't get it, "and I look like everyone else, and I just am not making it." He wound up dropping out—in the— when he could at 16, and then gradually went back and went through adult night school. And he graduated from high school at age 22. But, he just—he couldn't do it. He couldn't do it with his same age peers. And he knew— they know and they just— they can't figure out, "Who am I?" In a lot of ways, if a teen is injured younger, everyone adapts. And so the goals become different because you know that this child is special from a younger age. When it happens at the age— an injury— at the age of 14, 15, 16, then it's—it's kind of like— what happens to a dream deferred because—again— the kid's trying to formulate who they are, what their plans are, if they're going to graduate from high school and go into a job, if they are going to go to community college, to a university. The parents—the parents see who their child's going to be. Then they may come back and not have a whole lot of physical disabilities, or they may be minor, but they may have a huge change in personality. And I've had parents come to me in family sessions and say, "I don't like them any more. "I love them, but I don't like them. "They used to walk into a room and they had class, "and people looked at them. "Now I walk into a room and I don't know "what's going to come out of their mouths. "I don't know what they're going to do. I don't know what they're going to say. "And I'm always on guard because I know "it's just going to be something that's horrible. And I won't be able to stop it; and then people look at me." That's what the parents say too— like—"What's wrong with you? What kind of a parent are you? How do you parent your child?" And you don't always have an opportunity to explain. And people don't truly understand. There's so little information there about brain injury. And they blame you and they blame your child.

"I wish I were in wheelchair, then people would understand that something's wrong with me," said a patient of clinical psychologist Mariann Young.

See more video clips with Dr. Mariann Young.

Mariann Young

Mariann Young, PhD, CBIS, is a licensed clinical psychologist who has worked with children, adolescents and young adults with TBIs for over 20 years initially at Children’s Hospital of Michigan and currently at Rainbow Rehabilitation Centers, Inc. 

Posted on BrainLine April 30, 2014.

Produced by Victoria Tilney McDonough and Justin Rhodes, BrainLine.