Brainworks’ Abe Ibrahim, a rehabilitation therapist was interviewed by “Al Bilad”, a Southwest Ontario Arabic newspaper. Abe’s exceptional skills as a therapist and commitment to the Arabic community come together in this profile article. Below you will see a translation of the story, translated by Abe of course, along with a picture of the article.

In the Work Field

Abe Ibrahim, the work: In the company “Brainworks” towards Rehabilitation

Arab Canadians working in more commonly Canadian occupations. “Al Bilad” will attempt to place the spotlight on the nature of this type of work among Canadians. After studying three years at Fanshawe College, London, Ontario, Abe Ibrahim focused on social services and is currently involved with “Brainworks” and it focuses on rehabilitation. In our meeting with him, we asked Mr. Ibrahim about his work.

What is the work you do?

I’m involved in Social Services. At Brainworks we focus on rehabilitation for individuals and their families who were involved in Motor Vehicle Collisions which have caused brain injuries and/or chronic pain in their body.

What about the accidents and injuries?

We begin by looking at the victim’s history prior to their accident, their work/occupation/, what kind of activities, hobbies they used to do, whether or not there was a significant drinking history. A treatment plan is usually put together to help the victim on their path of rehabilitation. Injuries do not discriminate, they can begin to appear either immediately, days, weeks, or even months after the accident. For this reason, we often advise those who were involved in collisions to seek medical attention immediately and not neglect any pain they may encounter.

Have you come across situations where you have seen significant affects on someone following their accident while in rehabilitation?

Yes, a common symptom is memory loss. I have seen clients who are unable to remember what they had eaten or what they were doing only several hours earlier, there have also been losses in taste and sensation. As well as disorientation with respect to time and place, mixing past with present events, or mixing factual with fabricated/non-factual events.

What about the results of the treatment and recovery?

That often depends on several factors, such as the severity of the injury, the effort the victim applies in treatment, and many others. A victim with a mild injury may be able to recover quicker if the state he’s in is not severe. Whereas someone with a more severe injury may take a much longer period to undergo rehabilitation, often depending on what is required for the treatment to be successful.

How are the treatments usually covered?

We as an organization for the most part collaborate with insurance companies and adjustors. We also communicate with the victims’ personal injury lawyers.

What about those who sustained injuries from birth or a young age?

We have come across individuals who had acquired/traumatic brain injuries at a very early and tender age. Some had partial damage or pain in the body or only one part of the brain and not the entire brain damaged, as well as those with more severe brain injuries. There are various treatment plans used for them as well, examples include accompanying them to school, assisting them with school work or completing tasks, as well as taking them to various community centres or other environments to participate in social and recreational activities, all are part of the rehabilitation process.

Yourself, as someone who speaks Arabic, as well as English, does this help or benefit clients who are Arab Canadians?

Absolutely, my Arab background certainly helps me build relationships and rapport with Arabic speaking clients, it also helps as I have an understanding of their social mentality and cultural lifestyle. There are also situations where an Arab victim may have difficulty in expressing their pain, thoughts, and feelings towards a health care professional or specialist. Challenges not only include language and cultural barriers, but also their linguistic intention, as sometimes it is difficult to find the appropriate words or fully understand one’s interpretations of certain words. This is one of the roles I play in trying to comfort the client and assist him in his interpretation, explanation, and understanding of certain phrases or terminologies. Our company greatly respects and values cultural sensitivity issues, and it also recognizes some of the challenges clients from different ethnic backgrounds may face, and we assist and support them in that area as well during the treatment process.