While riding his bike, Robert was injured when he was struck by a car at age 11. Through the years, he has suffered many setbacks while trying to cope with his disability. Now at the age of 42, Rob is living in an apartment off Woods’ campus and is working full-time for Associated Production Services (APS) where he runs the shipping line.
As a result of the bicycle accident, Rob sustained damage to the frontal lobe of his brain that controls impulses, planning, and judgment. Rob was given special services through his home school district in Cherry Hill, NJ and graduated from high school. Following high school, he experienced adjustment problems and relied on drugs and alcohol as a way to cope with his difficulties.
Rob participated in several programs for individuals with brain injury and substance abuse problems. He had a hard time saying no and consequently was never able to completely rid himself of his addiction. In 1994, his insurance company referred him to Beechwood, Woods’ program for people who suffer from traumatic brain injury. At Beechwood, his day was very structured and he was given strict guidelines and expectations. He lived on campus and worked in the Beechwood Vocational Center.
Rob adjusted to the more structured environment and was gradually moved to less restrictive living situations and outside work opportunities. He now lives in an apartment by himself. He is independent and self-directed. He has a tireless work ethic and was promoted from being a materials handler at APS to being responsible for running their shipping line.
He meets every two weeks with Dr. Tom Blash, Clinical Director for Beechwood, who provides counseling services. “Rob has always been a very hard working person, which is why he has had so much success at APS,” claims Dr. Blash. “We actually had to help him learn to relax,” he continued. The ability to relax was a result of learning to make decisions and to be more flexible.
Unexpected situations once caused Rob significant frustration. Dr. Blash and the others who work with Rob have helped him learn from his collective experiences so that he is able to adapt more easily to unplanned situations. This has allowed him to be open to new experiences.
Rob is a sports enthusiast who provides Dr. Blash with much of his local sports updates and statistics. He watches several different sports television shows and has become a keen analyst who can quote any number of statistics at any time. He enjoys bowling once a week in a league and has an average score of 173.
Rob enjoys his independence, especially knowing the support systems are there when he needs them.