Acquired Brain Injury(NEW) ABI Student Blog: Why Blog?
Imagine your skill set is some sort of elaborate Lego structure you use daily. Suddenly, something completely unforeseen happens and your structure crumbles. Some pieces have even gone missing. But you need the structure in order to function in your everyday life. So, you start to rebuild... (read more : view the blog archive)
Watch the ABI Program Student Video
The following video takes a look at how the ABI Program has benefited students and their parents. This video was produced by students and graduates of the ABI Program.
What Is the ABI Program?
Coastline's ABI Program is a demanding one-year educational program designed to provide structured cognitive retraining for adults who have sustained a brain injury due to traumatic (such as a motor vehicle accident or fall) or non-traumatic (such as a non-age-related stroke, brain tumor or infection) injuries.
Each year, according to the Brain Injury Association, more than 700,000 Americans sustain brain damage from traumatic head injuries alone. Most are between the ages of 15 and 30 - young, active, involved individuals, suddenly and unexpectedly disabled.
In many cases, impaired attention and concentration, memory disturbances, language disabilities, and/or loss of reasoning skills prevent these individuals from resuming even minimal pre-accident activities. Awareness of limitations and shattered career and personal goals lead to frustration and depression, further contributing to the individual's unemployment, isolation and alienation from friends, family and community.
Coastline's ABI Program has developed a unique curriculum to address these special needs. The ABI Program emphasizes cognitive retraining, socialization, and career development to promote individual responsibility and independence. Students in the program learn strategies to compensate for deficits in:
- Verbal skills
- Figural skills
- Critical thinking
With a strong focus on emotional adjustment to brain injury and appropriate psycho-social skills, the program teaches students to apply these skills to practical, real-life home and work environments.
Coastline's ABI Program also offers the following program support services:
- Neuroeducational Assessment
- Counseling for students and their families
- "Future Planning Development" (whether for employment, training, or volunteering).
Classes meet Monday through Thursday, four hours per day. The school year includes two 16-week semesters and a five week summer session.
Classes are held at Coastline's Newport Beach Center, 1515 Monrovia, Newport Beach, CA 92663.
What Makes the ABI Program Unique?
Who Is Eligible for the ABI Program?
- Be a high school graduate or over 18 years of age.
- Have sustained a brain injury at or after the age of 13.
- Possess sufficient self-help skills for control of basic bodily functions.
- Be medically stable.
- Provide own transportation to and from classes.
- Have sufficient receptive and expressive communication skills to benefit from the rigorous educational program.
- Be free of blatant psychosis and/or behavioral problems which require physical restraining or which would adversely affect progress in the program.
- Have been free of dependency and problems associated with the use of non-prescribed drugs (including alcohol) for a minimum of one year prior to beginning the ABI program. Additionally, all students are expected to abstain from the use of non-prescribed drugs (including alcohol) while in attendance.
- Have a willingness to participate fully in the program and Student Educational Contract.
- Be ready to commit to full-time participation in an individually prescribed educational program.
- Be willing and able to adhere to all college rules and regulations.
What Is the Cost of the ABI Program?
California residents pay the standard community college enrollment fee (see Fees and Expenses); out-of-state students are subject to non-California resident policies and tuition (see also Residence Requirements). Nominal fees* for materials and supplies may be required.
* Department of Rehabilitation (D.R.) consumers may have fees paid by D.R. California residents receiving SSI and other low-income students may be eligible for financial aid assistance. For more information, please visit the Coast District Financial Aid web page.
What Forms Do I Need in Order to Apply to the Program?
Calendar of Application Dates
Please refer to the calendar of application dates (PDF) to determine the date by which your application and records must be received by our office. Upon receipt of the completed application and requested medical records (no microfiche), we will contact you to schedule an interview with a member of our staff and your significant other. Following the interview you will have a testing appointment. Then we will administer some group testing to assist us in assessing your specific needs. Please be advised that submitting an application, attending an interview, and going through the pre-admission evaluation does not guarantee acceptance into the ABI Program. The Admissions Committee will make the final decision on your application based on all available information and on the appropriateness of the ABI Program to meet your needs. All applicants who are accepted for enrollment in the ABI Program are required to attend an orientation for new students prior to the start of regular classes. The Orientation class is normally scheduled for a Saturday morning (8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.), and a family member or close friend is required to attend along with the applicant.
ABI Program Tours
Tours of the ABI Program typically are scheduled for Tuesday mornings at 10:30 a.m., but other arrangements can be made upon request. The tour provides an overview of the program and an opportunity to observe classroom interaction. Tours must be scheduled in advance. To schedule a tour, please call (714) 241-6214 and speak with Erica Valle.
Read touching stories from Coastline's ABI students here:
We all run into curves on the road of life. Some curves are sharper than others. Either way we will slow down, but not stop. I was an apprentice and going to two different schools. I was living in the fast lane, but then I got into a car accident.
My name is Alex Briceno and I'm told I am not supposed to be alive. Two weeks on life support, a month of being in coma, two different hospitals, and a month in rehab hospital. Many said not possible, but faith got me through.
I'm on a new curve, but getting guided in the right direction. Yes, I got slowed down, but not stopped. One of those construction workers like Michelle, are pointing where to go, and how to rebuild. Michelle tells me if I follow the strategies along the way I'll make in out OOOooooOOOk.
Even when I rush through to get passed my deficits, I'm reminded by one of the construction workers, "instructors", to keep on trying the best I can do. So now I have a second chance and am going to the acquired brain injury program.
These instructors are teaching us new tricks to function better in everyday life. Tricks called strategies that are helping us around that curve. We have a difficult time trying to learn new ways of doing things, but have the support to keep moving.
If they could, the instructors would give us a free pass to get back in the fast lane, but it is not that easy. We are taught new ways to remember important information, how to use the computer, and deal with the curve balls of life. The one thing we have been getting shown would be, how to take affective notes. Even the aides in the classrooms are helping us every day. We are never spoon fed the information, but are reminded that there is a reason for their madness. Other students are also willing to help, like giving rides to school.
As for myself, I see the staff as friends that care where I'm headed and want to see the best come from me. It's not easy for us, but it is nice to know you aren't the only one. When I first came out of the hospital, it was me against the world. Now I'm not alone.
As for the curve I'm on, no it is not easy, and takes a lot of help to correct it. I'm also reminded everything takes time. I'm glad there are people like Kim, which has fun with us while getting our work done. She tries keeping us somewhat up to date as we share our current events with the class. Seeing how there are many people that are dealing with their deficits and not stopping.
It takes a lot of effort like the people who are graduating, have. I am happy to see that it is possible to have such strength. This strength is not only from ourselves', but also support from our families and friends.
So, I would like to say thank you for all your support in getting us through. From personal experience the support has been coming through even when there are hard times. Now, since I've been coming to this school by my family's efforts, counselor conversations, instructors, and help from the aides. Thank you, and congrats to the graduating class of 2011.
"A bend in the road is not the end of the road...unless you fail to make the turn."
One of the first major 'bends' in the road of my life abruptly came when was in my fifth semester in college when my vascular tumor hemorrhaged. On that day, for no known reason: I started to lose physical and emotional control over the next few days. At that point, my parents took me to the emergency room at a local hospital. After twelve surgeries and 2 years in various hospitals and rehabilitation centers. My new journey would take me to Coastline College ABI Program where I would hit a major 'bend' in my life.
I was so excited when I found out that I was going to Coastline College. This would be, the most difficult bend... hairpin turn on the road to independence. Attending Coastline gave me a new purpose and goal for my life. Interacting with my classmates such as O.G., Marvin and David formed friendships that helped me get through the recovery process. We would help each out when we had trouble with a packet or homework assignment.
A great example of this would be how David and I helped each other to understand Michelle as she lectured at a million miles a minute on web page design. By ourselves, we would get lost in the information overload and understand nothing. We constantly compared notes and worked diligently to slow Michelle down. My friends would not let me get out of not doing an assignment that was difficult or uncomfortable when I said that I had a brain injury. They would always let me know that Tracy, Sue, Brenda and Michelle gave me tools that I needed to use to overcome my deficits. My interaction with students from other teams gave me an appreciation for all that I have. My interactions gave me the knowledge and skills to smash my A.N.T.s (Automatic Negative Thinking) that are generally about my future happiness. My interaction with other teams also changed the way that I work with other people. I learned how to better understand the viewpoints of other people which enabled me to think about people other than myself.
Then there was Tracy. Tracy helped to improve Team 1.2's cognitive abilities; which gave me the skills that would allow me to return to college and then the workforce. She showed me how to use compensation strategies to work around my deficits.
One of the things about Coastline College that I am most impressed with is the Future and Career Planning workshops that everybody takes. The two workshops helped me to redefine what I reasonably could and couldn't do in my future. My goal for future is to return to college and to get a bachelors degree and then pursue a job. My transition team helped motivate me to take a class at Harbor Community College as a way to transition back to a college setting. I am taking a class called Personal Development and I am learning the skills similar to the ones I am learning at Coastline. One of the biggest things I have learned from attending Coastline College is that even thought people have different skills and abilities, they can still do a great job using compensation strategies taught be our teachers. Sometimes the teachers don't know that they are teaching us something. For example, in computer class we are building a personal website. Michelle lectures so quickly that many of the students, including me get lost and frustrated so that we are unable to think clearly. Her super fast lecture rate forced us to come up with compensation strategies on our own to get us used to working in the world. She let us know that outside of coastline people, including I am confident that Coastline College has given me the skills to take on any 'bend' in the road that comes my way. I am confident that I will be able to take the turn.
It is difficult to talk about my brain injury but I will say it has changed my life and that of my family forever. I was a sophomore in college studying graphic design and living on campus. I loved studying art, doing creative projects, being independent and working at a part time job. I was 19 years old. I often hopped on my bicycle along with my roommate to get to the next class. One day as I traveled between classes, I was in an accident and sustained a traumatic brain injury. I don't remember much else after that. I spent the next 7 months in the hospital, 5 of those in a coma. The next year after returning home I spent in various outpatient rehabilitations for both my physical and mental recovery. I have had to relearn just about everything!
Attending Coastline has been an important next step in my recovery journey. Before I started I was pretty lost. I especially struggled with time management. The ABI Program has helped me tremendously with daily life. In the program I have met wonderful people and I look forward to going to school each day. I feel welcome and surrounded by people who understand what it is like to live with a brain injury. It is true I am a little groggy in the morning and I don't really want to get out of bed but I tell myself that I must face the day with a smile and get on with it. The teachers are great and push me to improve each day. I am more interactive and am regaining lost skills.
The ABI program has helped me to face my challenges and learn strategies to compensate for my injury. Coastline has helped me to take what life has thrown at me and work my way around it. I can see the hope in my future if I follow carefully thought out plans. Each day I use my blackberry to plan and keep focused on my schedule for the day. I constantly make notes to myself using its built in tools. Alarms are always going off to keep me on task. I am working on my follow through so I don't just ignore them! With this retraining I am gradually moving forward.
I thought after my brain injury my life was over. Attending Coastline has definitely helped me make the "turn". Now I believe I can create a beautiful future and I am grateful to be alive. I work really hard each day and I struggle to remember most things. I look at recovery as my job and it's tough but then a lot of jobs are hard. I constantly remind myself that the rougher the going gets, the harder I have to try and most of all to never give up.
Life is not always an easy road and after a brain injury it becomes even harder. Surviving a traumatic brain injury has taken me on an unplanned journey. My world was rocked but gradually I have found my way down a new road. Laughter, joy, and happiness have returned as my healing has progressed and I am so thankful for the role that Coastline's ABI program has played. My future plans include continuing to use what I learned in all the classes to propel me back into college one day. I believe the compensation strategies, note taking, word finding, computer and organizational skills I have been learning here will help me to make that a reality. I am becoming more independent. I look forward to driving again one day and I definitely want to pursue art in some capacity. I have many dreams and believe in life's possibilities. I would be remiss if I did not tell you, I believe in miracles and I am one.
"Can you Imagine a life that includes... A Brain Injury, or not being able to recall your life before today?"
I'm a mother of 3 Boys 25, 23,16 I never imagined nor did anyone in my life imagine that my life could or would change forever.. That every memory from a photo would be lost, the feeling of when you look into a photo you cant recall the emotions behind it! Can you imagine not knowing who your friends are or Not being able to recall your son's last Hockey game...Well I don't have to imagine it, I am living it!!...
Welcome to "My Journey" to my Bend in the Road... On January 9, 2010 I began this Journey I was involved in a head on collision, A young man was to busy Talking on his cell phone & Text messaging to notice his Vehicle was quickly approaching and intersection! The vehicle I was a passenger in began to turn left but only to be hit head on, I suffered a Stage 3 Concussion within a 24 hour period my life changed I began to struggle with speaking, walking I began to have trouble finding the words I needed to communicate My friends where no longer friends they became strangers I had a circle of friends that I could remember others well, I see them as strangers my long term memory has been impacted along with short term memory I have no real memory of this day I relay on family and friends to help with that, some say that in itself is a blessing that I cant recall the accident.
During my Journey I came to a turn in this road of recovery the turn brought me to Coastline ABI program meeting what I call my "Forever Friends" this has became my "Safe Place" I share a special closeness with many I have came in contact with my Instructors, Classmates and Counselors the entire staff have touched my life forever the guidance and support I receive from each of them I will carry on with me through my Journey of recovery.. Being here I am able to feel confident again in expressing my thoughts, my fears and not feel as though its wrong to feel this way, You see not everyone can understand our struggles, Every morning my Journey begins Monday through Thursday I arrive here at Coastline between 7:00am - 7:30am , we have a room that is open for us, a few friends and I use this time to have what I call our Coffee Talk!
We discuss our struggles, happy times, sad times we are there for each other to offer any guidance or support we can offer one another- You see not everyone can understand our injuries being here at the ABI program has been the Best part of this Journey , I truly believe now that "A Real Friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out", You see I believe I have made Real friends here friendships that will grow we may not all have the exact same Brain injuries but than, no 2 are the same we all have struggles some of us cant recall what we did the day before and that's ok we are there for each other we laugh, we have cried we can be "Us" yes sometimes we have trouble pronouncing those words or finding the correct word to use but , We have each other and we always leave the day with a smile..All I am learning here will help me in my life, forever I am able to build my Social Skills, Communication skills I can over come my fears, I refuse to give up not today not ever This bend in the road is not the end of the road for me.
My experience here has helped me function , manage my life again I look forward to receiving all the Tools ABI has to offer such as utilizing Smart technologies I am able to schedule my own appointments I feel I am gaining some independence in my life again my organizational skills are improving along with building my confidence I know I have a Journey still ahead of me and that's ok, I know I will get through this because of the Support I have here from my fellow Classmates along with the Staff , we are fighters here we keep walking forward never looking back Yes today may be a struggle but we are there for each other to pick each other up and walk side by side ..... During this turn in my Journey I have became passionate about "Who I am Now", my Life as I Know it Today, "My Life" Live your life to the fullest. Be passionate about what you believe in, If you do not have a goal- get one!! If you do not have a dream- find one! Never begin your day by saying - What if?? If you truly want something - go for it!! Be Real and True to yourself , Life is a Gift , cherish those closest to you.. Family is priority number one, Confidence is a gift,.. But Live Life to the Fullest. This Journey may have a few turns, don't be afraid , take those turns it may be that path to happiness.....
You See I have done it all or Maybe not... or maybe just think I have.. But with all my experiences I did come to realize one thing for sure.. The road to inner peace and happiness is to be who you really are the New You!! Always!!! Eliminate those who do not appreciate who you are.... Love those who Love you...Love them with your whole heart and soul... Never let go... When you find peace that is True and real Cherish every minute every moment..
Admire those who admire you... disregard those who don't care about you...forgive at the end of every day.... but do not forget to learn from every experience every day is a new day... and there is nothing like a day after another... Time will pass.... Things will come to and end but, spiritual love will stay.. Be that of friends or family... above all don't forget this is a Voyage a Journey.. And you have the "Right" to be happy So pursue your happiness..... Look for it... Look for your inner peace love yourself above everybody and everything and love others like you love yourself... respect your Body..seek the best for it.. Find pleasure in the little things in life Smile first thing in the morning... learn to accept that person in the mirror.. Because that person is You... You are "Alive" and this is your "Life" and life is Up!! You see I have found happiness at least I hope... I will love my New life with all I have ... I will adore me...I will support me with all my heart... You see I pursue happiness.... and that Happiness I feel in my heart will help guide me through anything big or small .. Family and my Forever Friends I will love you as I love Myself I will be here for you when you feel like everyone has walked away.. Because you have touched my heart when I needed you the most,... So Always Remember .. Look for your inner Peace... Love yourself above everybody love others like you love yourself Smile first thing in the morning adore You! Support You!! Everyone has touched my Heart in some way during my Journey here and I know there may be a bend in the road from time to time but I have the guidance and support of my Family & Friends here to help me make the Correct Turns I will stay Positive and walk with my head high because I have you,
My name is Veronica Servin. I go by Roni. I was in Las Vegas on December 8, 2007 to watch a boxing match with my championship trainer. The fight was between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Ricky Hatton at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Saturday night I started having a major headache. I went to my room and relaxed. The next day I flew to my home. I took some medicine that my doctor had given me for stress headache. I took some of that and lay down. Monday I went to work, still taking the stress pills every 6 hours. My headache was worse. I did not sleep the whole night. Tuesday morning I saw my doctor. She gave me one pill and a shot but the pain just got worse. I could not stand my headache, it was pounding. I could not drive. She said, "let us get a CT SCAN". I had to drive to another place, where they said they would see me in two weeks. I talked to my insurance carrier and they told me to drive to another place where they would do it as soon as possible.
It was a half hour after the study that my doctor called and told me to get to the hospital because I had an aneurysm. I got a hold of my sister to take me to hospital. I called my boss. I needed to leave everything in place. I was not scared but as soon I got to hospital, I asked for a priest because I felt I was going to die. All my family was there. The doctor told me you can get a stroke, become a vegetable or die. He told me I was going to have surgery the next day and I was not doing very well.
They coiled my aneurysm. "Wake up" the nurse told me! I tried to say something and I passed out. My family did not hear anything for 9 hours. I had three strokes from the aneurysm surgery. My memory was so bad I forgot my cell number, driver's license, social security numbers and prayers. I could not make a sound. I cannot remember anything from December 12th to December 24th. But I do remember I was happy I did not die.
I went to HealthSouth to recover from the stroke. My right side was paralyzed. I was in a wheel chair for two days. I had Aphasia. "What is that" I asked myself? Aphasia is a language impairment that reduces a person's ability to speak and reduces reading and writing abilities. In general, intelligence remains intact, but the ability to communicate is impaired. After that I went to California State University at Fullerton for speech. I went to Hoag Hospital for speech, physical, and occupational therapy. After six months the doctors told me that my Aneurysm could bleed. I had two choices, to live with this risk or get stents. I chose to have stents. I still have major headaches every day.
I had an independent life. I lived by myself. I had my own office. I was employed by JP Morgan Chase. I was an Account Executive for Mortgage Banking. I did six ministries at my church. I boxed, dance and went to the gym. Not anymore!
I started the Acquired Brain Injury program (ABI) in February 2010. I like school very much. During my orientation I asked myself, what could I learn to improve my speech. I wondered if I would ever be able to speak about what the school did for me and thought I probably wouldn't because I didn't speak a lot. A year later, Celeste called me to speak at orientation for the new students. I yelled with joy and thought "Yes, I did it". Kim said I did well and she wanted me to another!
My best class is Computer Lab. Michelle is pretty awesome, the best teacher I've had since my brain injury. I did a web site on the places where I had been which included France, Greece and Turkey. I actually went to Europe after I had my brain injury. I had to present in class and with my speech, it was hard. Michelle and the other students help me. The other thing we are working on is Time Management. We are building a web site on it. I asked Michelle from 1-10 how was my basic cognitive functions (attention, language, comprehension). She said, "In the beginning I was a 4-5 and now she said I was 7-8". Yeah!
In my cognitive class, Jim has helped me improve my speech and gives me challenging topics to talk and write about. Jim always talks about getting informed. I watch The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, The Cobert Report, 3 other shows, and news of the day. We are working on the word of the day from the dictionary.com. He has us draw a picture to describe it. Jim makes us do the pictures for another word that we personally have a problem with and have trouble finding during conversation. It's our personal word finding list. I was the captain of the walkathon and gave my team Disneyland lollipops. Jim gave us hats that said "Wait... I forgot". Melissa, my classmate, came up with that. My family came to support me as I can walk now.
Kim class is planned, I like that very much. We do processing on Mondays. I talked about my dancing. I used to dance Hip-Hop and Salsa. One day my headache was 7 out of ten and I turned on the music and tried to dance. It was so sad that I could not dance like I danced before. I realized what is wrong with me, help me and worked to find ways around it; we call them strategies to adapt. Kim told me I should practice always because the part that wasn't moving could move all of the sudden. On Thursdays we do current events. I like that because I get any newspaper article and I get to talk about it.
I am on the Advisory Council. I can't speak fluently and they chose me anyway. I asked Jim, why did they choose me. Is it because I have a car and can come of Fridays? He said, you are smart, dedicated, a hard worker, and Michelle nominated you. I went to Michelle and thanked her for doing that. After I came home from school I cried, cried and cried I was so happy. Advisory Board Members are doctors, neuropsychologists and other students; we talk about budget cuts, fundraising, program development and many other things. One of the students gave a suggestion that we should get help with the notebook . The next semester we had the notebooks which included the homework log and name and subject stickers for every page of notes.
I am on the Appeals Council. I am quiet much of the time, because I feel inferior to the four other students that are there; they can talk and it is difficult for me. This can be embarrassing. Celeste is understanding of this. I enjoy socializing with my classmates and other students. Being a member of the Appeals Panel gives me the chance to help other students. I offer to help if I can.
I am taking an English class this summer. I scored high on the placement test. When I got to my car I started to cry with joy. I am taking it at Orange Coast College. My future planning teacher, Erin told me that the smarter you are when you get a brain injury the faster you recover. What is my purpose for coming to school? Attitude - to recover for as long as it takes... it can take me 5 years or 15 years. I like helping people but I need help also. One step at a time! I wish to thank all the staff at ABI for giving me all the support I need.
Brain Injury Links
Donate to the ABI Program
Coastline Community College's Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) Program is an educational program designed to provide cognitive retraining for adults who have sustained a brain injury. The program's unique curriculum has been developed to address a variety of special needs that resulted from brain injury such as impaired attention and concentration, language disabilities, loss of reasoning skills and memory disturbances. Staffed by a team of credentialed special education instructors, assisted by a neuropsychologist, instructional aides, graduate student volunteers and staff, the ABI Program's goal is to provide structured cognitive retraining, allowing students to maximize their abilities, to regain their independence and to realize their academic and vocational goals.
Base funding for the ABI program comes from the State's Disabled Students Programs and Services (DSP&S) Categorical funds, along with College matching funds. The ABI Foundation, a 501 (C) (3) organization, was originally founded to help support the financial needs of the students while attending the program through such means as gas and grocery store cards, help with tuition, transportation costs and child care, as well as paying for such expenses as unexpected car repairs or medical bills. As support for the ABI Foundation grew, it was then able to support the PDA program, developed to help students with memory compensation techniques that are applied to brain injury related deficits such as attention to detail, visual memory, sequencing, categorization and time management. Now, due to the California budget crisis and the fact that our base Categorical funding has been dramatically reduced, our fundraising efforts now go directly to support the continuation of the ABI program itself and the services it provides.
The ABI program is unique in that it was developed and remains under the community college system. In most cases, current services for medical rehabilitation process may only begin the process of cognitive remediation and under even the best healthcare systems may be very limited in scope. Coastline offers a very affordable and comprehensive solution to long term cognitive retraining including community re-integration services. You can help keep this amazing community resource viable by making a donation today.
For more information about giving opportunities, including sponsoring an ABI event, please contact Celeste Ryan, Instructor/Coordinator, ABI Co-Department Chair, at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (714) 241-6214 ext. 17217.Donate Now to Coastline's ABI Program