My Experience at the 32nd BIAK Annual Meeting (PART 1)
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Have you ever been invited to an unfamiliar gathering, not knowing what to expect? This was the feeling that I had when I was sent the invitation to attend the BIAK 32nd Annual Meeting. A coworker of mine had forwarded me an email with the information for the event, which took place on July 18th. Before receiving this information, I had never even heard of BIAK (Brain Injury Alliance of Kentucky). As a disclaimer, I’m very new to the field of behavior analysis, so there are a lot of concepts, along with organizations, that I am just now learning about. Moving forward!
The weekend before the meeting, I took some time to research the organization; to see what BIAK were about, and to absorb as much information as possible before the meeting. The information I found on their website, along with a couple of videos, to be extremely helpful and informative. I never would have guessed that there was so much support for brain injury awareness, and the amount of people willing to dedicate their time for the cause was really inspiring.The more I learned about BIAK, the more I was looking forward to attending the meeting.
Upon arrival at the Price Webber Building, where the meeting was being held, I was immediately greeted by Executive Director, Eddie Reynolds. From the polite greeting, to how the lobby and presentation were set up, I knew that I was going to enjoy myself, as well as learn a lot in the process. Eddie would later go on to tell me more about the organization, and what BIAK’s main goals and purpose were. “Our goal is to provide the resources so that people can make the best recovery from brain injury possible,” he said.
While waiting for the meeting to start, I spoke to a couple who were there to collect one of the awards that was being given out. When I asked them about their affiliation with BIAK, they had nothing but positive things to say about the organization, as well as mention all that BIAK does for those who have been affected by brain injury. They also went on to tell me that they had founded a group called Headliners. Headlines is a group, for those who are affected by brain injury, that meets once a month at local restaurants. They do their best to choose restaurants that are the most conveniently located so that as many people who want to attend the monthly meetings are able to. If you would like to learn more about this group, you can head over to their Facebook page for more information. (https://www.facebook.com/pages/biz/Headliners-Brain-Injury-Group-592923994242437/)
After speaking with this kind couple, I was approached by BIAK Member, Todd Gregory. Todd is part of their human rights committee, and is extremely active within the organization. He even raised over $3,000 last year along to support the cause. Since Todd himself had a significant brain injury when he was younger, he knows just how much a toll a traumatic brain injury can have on someone’s life. “Brain injury doesn’t heal like a broken bone,” said Todd. “Brain injury is for life. That is referring to whether you’re a patient, relative or survivor.”
Needless to say, my horizons were starting to become expanded; even while only being at the reception for a short period of time. Up until then, I had never knowingly met someone with a brain injury. It was really interesting to chat and mingle with those of whom had been affected by this first-hand though. I was starting to realize that the topic of brain injury was a lot more complex than I had ever even given it consideration. The brain is an extremely powerful muscle, with an almost infinite number of pathways, that are constantly affecting the way that we think, feel and perceive the world around us. If something isn’t sound with how your brain is functioning, then it can have drastic outcomes of how you navigate day-to-day life. I find it to extremely comforting that organizations like BIAK are out there helping those affected by brain injury in any way possible.
Do you like what you’ve just read? This blog post will be continued in part 2!
BIAK Website: https://biak.us/