After a spinal cord injury, it is common to take time off from work or to change jobs completely. There are a handful of individuals however who do return to their jobs if they are able to, especially if the job is in a profession they can still do, like IT or teaching, or dozens of other sedentary jobs.
Some people who can return to their jobs and have families to support, feel inclined to return to their job right away. Many return to their jobs in just a few months. Others however will take a year off or more. Sadly, unemployment rates are high among people with spinal cord injuries. Approximately 70-80% of people with spinal cord injuries are unemployed.
Many people find it difficult to maintain a full-time job when first learning how to navigate life with a spinal cord injury. Fortunately, many employers are flexible, allow employees flex hours and the option to work from home. Once you get the hang of your morning routine as someone with paralysis, getting to your job becomes easier. Many even opt to do their shower or bowel program the night before.
Returning to work part-time is another option, which allows people to still receive disability assistance. For many, this is a happy medium. If you need assistance in finding a new profession that works with your new abilities, rehabilitation facilities for people with spinal cord injuries offer vocational rehabilitation specialists to assist you with this. They can also assist you with returning to school. Each state offers vocational specialists. To find one near you, search your state and “vocational rehab services.”
For many, a spinal cord injury is an ideal time to reset their career if they were looking for a change before their injury. And many find jobs in the disability world, from writing about life with a disability, speaking about life with a disability to creating products for others with disabilities. Creating a career about something you’re an expert in is always a good idea.
To see more blog posts on SCI Employment, view our blog section on employment after an injury here.