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FILMMAKER STATEMENT BRAIN INJURY DIALOGUES by Lyell Davies & Rick Franklin Rick & Lyell: In making Brain Injury Dialogues, our goal has been to educate the general public about brain injury and to provide brain injury survivors, their families and caregivers with accurate, sympathetic and empowering depictions of what living with a brain injury can be like. Life with a brain injury is challenging: challenging because although millions of people each year experience brain injuries of different kinds and varying degrees of severity, most people (including some in the medical profession) still know very little about brain injury. Challenging too because it is an invisible disability with no direct outward signs which can make it easily dismissed or ignored as unimportant. For individuals living with a brain injury, the challenges are enormous: many survivors are not able to work in the jobs they had before their injury (if they are able to work at all), they may be forced to live with constant and distressing 'deficits' and physical conditions, experience behavioral, mood or personality changes, and be stigmatized in by their friends, family or in the workplace. In making Brain Injury Dialogues, our goal is to address these challenges directly, and to make for brain injury survivors a video they can watch and know, I'm not alone. Others share my difficulties. We want survivors to be able to show our documentary to their families, friends, or anyone else and say, watch this video, you may not see my brain injury, but this is some of what I live with every day. And we want the general public to learn from our documentary, so the public can become familiar with this serious and widespread disability and hopefully work to secure better services and accommodations for people living with brain injuries. Rick: When my brain injury occurred in 1991, it changed everything in my life. For sixteen years I've been unable to work. I live with chronic mental and physical fatigue and a relentless sensitivity to light and noise. In loud situations, or where there's a lot of movement, I can't focus on one thing and I can get very easily distracted. I have frequent headaches. I can't sleep. And once my mental fatigue sets in (which can happen quickly) I can't function and have to find a quiet, darker place to try and rest. As if all of these changes weren't enough to deal with after my injury, most of the people around me vanished the attitude was give me a call when you get better... what does better mean? I wish I had seen a documentary like this a year or two after my injury. I think it would have helped me and my family a lot to better understand the magnitude of the impact this injury would have on all of us. Also, one of the key messages in this video is the need for community support for survivors. I was inspired to make this documentary after I got involved with a support group called the East Bay Brain Injury Support Group in Oakland, California. Support groups offer a safe-harbor for survivors to talk openly about their experiences and share support and ideas with each other. Entering a support group can be like a family welcoming you, knowing a great deal about what you are feeling and have to say. Over time, as new faces continue to appear, you can see how far you've come and how much further others can still grow. A second message I hope this documentary offers is how essential it is for all of us to better recognize the needs of brain injury survivors. For this to happen, we as brain injury survivors (with the help of disability rights, non-injured advocates, etc.) need to organize ourselves and both demand the accommodations we need, and reach out to help those also afflicted with this kind of injury. I hope our documentary can play a role in this effort.Review:
The goal of Brain Injury Dialogues, a documentary co-directed by Lyell Davies and brain injury survivor Rick Franklin, is to educate the public and provide survivors, their families and health professionals an accurate, empowering account of the many challenges associated with brain injury. --Jaclyn Law, Abilities Magazine, Toronto, Canada
I am a clinical nurse specialist in neuro intensive care and now a professor at the University of Hawaii. I think the work that you have done with 'dialogues' is amazing. I am using the clips to teach my students at both the undergraduate and graduate levels... this look 'into the hearts and lives' of brain injured people is crucial for students to learn about brain injury. Thank you for your work. --Dr. Estelle Codier, University of Hawaii, Manoa , HI
I purchased your video to use during two lectures that I give on Communicative Disorders Associated with Neurological Problems. I have approximately 190 students in this class and we cover a range of topics from Autism to Stuttering to Hearing Loss to TBI. I wanted to let you know that the video was well received and a valuable resource for these undergraduate students to understand the problems associated with TBI. --Howard Schwartz Ph.D. Associate Professor, Allied Health and Communicative Disorders, Northern Illinois Univ, Dekalb, IL
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