Author(s): Shem K, Medel R, Wright J, KolakowskyHayner SA, Duong T
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Abstract STUDY DESIGN: This is a prospective study. OBJECTIVES: Young individuals with spinal cord injury (SCI) need support to actively participate in the community after their injuries. The 'Back on Track' mentoring program was developed to match mentees with SCI with mentors to assist with post-injury adjustment. The objectives of this study were to improve the percentage of youth and young adults with SCI, who access post-secondary education or employment opportunities and to improve quality of life. SETTING: This study had a community-based setting. METHODS: Each mentee with SCI was matched with a community-based mentor, with or without a disability. The mentoring relationship was planned for 2 years. Participants were evaluated with standardized questionnaires at intake, at the time of post-secondary education or employment entry and 4 months post entry. RESULTS: In total, 39 individuals with SCI, age 16-26 years, were enrolled. Average age of mentees was 19.8 years (s.d.=3.0). In total, 29 participants were matched with mentors, and 10 participants (34\%) completed the program, with seven (24\%) returning to school, two (6.9\%) returning to work and one individual (3.4\%) attending school part time. CONCLUSION: Although multiple barriers to success occurred, this program demonstrated that it could assist the youth and young adults with SCI to obtain post-secondary education and employment. This type of support system should be encouraged in order to improve the quality and satisfaction of life for young adults with disabilities.
This article was published in Spinal Cord
and referenced in International Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation