'Knowing that you're not alone': Program provides tech to people with brain injuries during pandemic

A program by the Brain Injury Association Waterloo-Wellington is providing technology to people with brain injuries to support them during the pandemic.

"For somebody with a brain injury, you can't see what their struggles are, the fatigue or word-finding difficulties," explained Ashley Tindall, a participant of the Brain Connect program.

The Guelph resident was left with a brain injury and a number of other medical issues after a serious crash over two decades ago.

However, Tindall says she has been able to find some support and comfort through technology offered through the Brain Connect program.

"I personally was provided with a Google Nest Hub, which is a device that responds to audio commands which is fantastic for me with my low vision," she said.

The association launched the program last July with the goal of providing survivors access to technology in order to help ease isolation during COVID-19.

"It's been amazing," said Emily Singh, virtual support coordinator of the Brain Connect program. "We've been able to help over 35 people get connected with a brand new device and provide one-on-one training."

The program used funds provided by the Kitchener Waterloo Community Foundation and the City Of Guelph to purchase technology like MacNooks, iPads, and sound-cancelling headphones.

It has helped members connect with loved ones and access their medical appointments.

"My vision therapy appointment, neurology appointments, all of those appointments are all being done via zoom," said program participant Donna Henri.

It's also aided in easing loneliness and providing a sense of community.

"Being in contact with other survivors and knowing that you're not alone," added Henri.