ID cards helpful for those with hindrances

"I’m pleased to say that ID cards for brain injury survivors are now available through the Northern Brain Injury Association."

Brain injury survivor Yvonne Nielsen with some of the advocacy awards she has been presented with over the years.

Dear Sir:

I’m pleased to say that ID cards for brain injury survivors are now available through the Northern Brain Injury Association.

This has been a long effort to get this far. The provincial government still says ‘no’ for an ID card it would provide and it is 100 per cent wrong.

The Northern Brain Injury Association has had its cards available throughout northern B.C. beginning last fall and now they are available in Terrace.

This is what I have been asking for since 1989. Other communities in B.C. have similar ID cards.

The card could be used to assist police and prevent a misinterpretation of behaviour or actions of someone with a brain injury.

The card includes the survivor’s brain injury symptoms and other related information.

When a survivor encounters law enforcement, the police may think that the person is drunk.

The survivor can then show the card that states the survivor has mobility impairments, speech impairments, slow response time – the list goes on. The survivor is not drunk and this is how the card can help.

I would still like to see a provincial ID card for people with permanent disabilities. Right now, each different disability group has to get its own card.

The autism society in Newfoundland and Labrador start up a very similar ID card for those who need one. It is to help the police in that province understand that a person is autistic and not drunk.

One of the other groups which provides an ID card is the Canadian National Insitute for the Blind.

But it would be even better if there was one card across the country for people with permanent disabilities. If you then move from one community or province, the card would be good anywhere.

The card could be used for medical reasons if a person can’t communicate. I used my card twice when I had to use the ambulance and this was very appreciated.

It would be good for first responders, good for Via Rail and other travellers, schools, etc. It would help explain why a person behaves the way they do.

As the survivor of an acquired traumatic brain injury, I very much appreciate the ID card and so do other people from the Terrace Brain Injury Support Group.

As I said back in 1989, the card would be feasible and sure enough, I was correct.

The evidence is there. The card is there for those who need it. This is a very positive outcome.

I would like to acknowledge those who gave me support. That would include Terrace RCMP Inspector Dana Hart who has now retired and Eric Stubbs and Doug Wheler who were also inspectors here and gave me some support. I also received support letters from the mayor, city council and the fire chief.

Yvonne Nielsen,

Terrace, B.C.