TRI program helps people with traumatic brain injuries

The Total Re-Integration (TRI) program at Richland offers resources for individuals who have been affected by traumatic brain injury, stroke or tumor and the physical and emotional issues that go along with it.  The program is taught through small classes, uses interdisciplinary instructions and includes an individualized fitness evaluation.

Ricky Miller, 45, a Richland student in the TRI program, was in a car accident while on his way to the movies with a date. He stepped out of the car to exchange information with the other driver when another car hit Miller’s from behind, smashing him in between the vehicles. Miller was air lifted to the hospital fighting for his life. After a year of therapy he regained consciousness and was released from the hospital.

TRI program participant and  Chronicle  entertainment editor Ricky Miller writes his film review for an upcoming edition. 

TRI program participant and Chronicle entertainment editor Ricky Miller writes his film review for an upcoming edition. 

While in recovery, Miller’s mother met a friend who introduced her to the TRI program at Richland. She was told the program had a great reputation and that it would help Miller in his recovery. She immediately enrolled Miller into the program to help rebuild his Miller’s cognitive development and regain emotional function.

“This is a steppingstone to get back involved in life so that you’re not sitting at home all day becoming depressed,” said Miller. Students seem to enjoy the program which expands opportunities for further development.

“Joining the total re-integration program has taught me a lot and you get great benefits. I would encourage anyone with a mental illness to join the program. You will learn different types of stories about everyone’s struggle and what brought them to this program,” said Faduma Abdi, a TRI program student.

Some individuals who have undergone traumatic experiences that affected their cognitive abilities have been unable to obtain resources they need to restore their ability to fully function again in society.  The TRI program at Richland has established this resource for people over the age of 13 who have experienced brain injury. Richland is one of three college institutions in the U.S. that offers the TRI program.

“Students are given the option to take credit or non credit courses and it’s a good way for them to gain memory skills. We have had some students who have transitioned to the credit courses and have been successful,” said Briaina Webster, a senior rehabilitation specialist and advisor for the visually impaired. 

Brain injury can affect an individual’s ability to develop healthy relationships and  be able to work. The most persistent problems include memory impairment, difficulties in attention and concentration.

“Our main goal is to help regain memory, independence and to help the students become a great participant in the community. This is the first semester we have had internships on campus for the students of the total re-integration program and we will get feedback from the students about the experience. Each year the total re-integration program plans to implement more creative ideas to prepare students with real world situations and to help them become independent individuals,” said Webster.

If you or someone you know suffers with a mental illness caused by a traumatic experience contact Richland Disability Services at 972-238-6180.