From migrating to Canada, to surviving a stroke, this participant is determined to work!

This is a beautiful story written by a Neil Squire Society’s Prairie Regional Office participant. Enjoy!

“Our family migrated to Canada (new window)in March of 2010. As soon as we arrived I tried to find a job. I looked for work in an office setting but was unable to find one. A year after coming to Canada, I had a stroke. The stroke caused me to have a blood clot in the right hemisphere of my brain. This affected my mobility functions on the left side of my body and I was unable to walk. During the first stage of my disability I was using a wheel chair. Eventually I transcended to a walker, and then a cane to help me keep my balance. Though I am limping, I can cope with my day to day activities. Before we migrated, I was self-employed as a part-time college associate professor. I was using the computer to make reports and school lectures. But after my stroke I forgot how to manipulate the software programs which I usually used in the past.

Maria, participant from Prairie Regional Office While I was recovering, I was closely monitored by Acquired Brain Injury. A representative from  Acquired Brain Injury, Carol Farmer of Wascana Rehabilitation Centre (new window), interviewed me about my plans for the future. My plans were to join the workforce and probably complete a college degree at a Canadian university. Carol introduced me to Neil Squire Society. I started at the Neil Squire Society as a Computer Comfort participant. After I finished the course I continued onto the Employ-Ability Program.

I am still suffering from spasticity and stiffness. The Employ-Ability Program has helped me cope with my difficulties, both physical and psychological. Physically, the Neil Squire Society identified which adaptive equipment would be appropriate to maximize my ability to join the workforce again. I was given Dragon Naturally speaking, (new window) a one handed keyboard, an adjustable arm rest, and a hand shoe mouse.

Psychologically, they helped me regain my self-confidence. I was able to accept and cope with my disability. I was enlightened through the lectures, and classroom activities. Career development has given me the necessary tips and insights on how to make an attractive resume and how to confidently participate during an interview. It has given me a good perspective on how to overcome my insecurity being an immigrant and a stroke survivor.

 Modules on wellness offered in the Employ-Ability Program reminded me how eating well is living well. Also, the appropriate amount of rest is needed to cope with physical stresses. The career development and computer modules reminded me of how to conduct myself in a workplace, as well as how to deal with people and expose myself to the Canadian workplace environment.

The Employ-Ability Program helped me identify which jobs paired with my qualifications. I will not stop looking for a job,” says Maria.

Maria is currently doing a work placement at the University of Regina in the Conservatory and Life Long Learning Departments. She hopes that they will hire her after her four week work placement.  Congratulations Maria!