Special Preview— Introducing Our New Video Series
Voices of Experience - Living With Spinal Cord Injuries
July 8, 2019
Nobody knows what you’re going through like the Voices of Experience. They know…they’ve lived it.
Voices of Experience is a new 10-part video series specifically created for people with new spinal cord injuries. It’s a time of painful uncertainty when people are struggling to understand the meaning of “paralyzed,” and trying to figure out what their lives will be like in the days and years ahead.
The series talks directly to people with spinal cord injuries about the questions, issues and concerns that are most important to them in the early days after their injuries. Each episode begins with these words:
Suddenly, your world changes…
You’re in a place you never imagined.
You feel alone. But you’re not.
Other people know exactly what you’re going through because they’ve been there themselves.
They are the voices of experience. And they can help you get through this.
We created Voices of Experience because we believe:
- Nobody understands what you’re going through like someone who’s already been there.
- People with real-life experiences know what they’re talking about because they’ve lived it themselves.
- You can trust what they say.
The series introduces newly-injured people to a wide-ranging group of people who share the world they are now entering.
They’re living proof of the comforting reality that “You Are Not Alone”— although it can certainly seem like you are, especially in the first days after a spinal cord injury. Most people don’t know anyone else who has a spinal cord injury, much less someone who has been living with paralysis.
The videos cover the kinds of personal subjects—dating, sex, fertility, relationships, fears and feelings—that people are often unwilling or uncomfortable about bringing up during counseling sessions or even in face-to-face talks with medical and rehab professionals.
Each compelling 10-minute video contains a diverse group of people giving intensely personal answers to these 10 questions:
- What was your greatest fear at first?
- What was the hardest part of the first days in the hospital?
- What do you wish you had known at the beginning?
- How do you handle anger?
- How do you handle guilt?
- Men: What about sex and dating?
- Women: What about sex and dating?
- How do I deal with my friends?
- How do I deal with my family?
- Can I still participate in sports?
The full series will premiere this fall. It is designed for distribution to Spinal Cord Injury Model Systems in-hospital television networks, as well as online and to other healthcare institutions.
Voices of Experience is a joint project of FacingDisability.com and the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab, created in fulfillment of the outreach component of SRALab’s current Model Systems NIDILRR grant. Drs. Allen Heinemann, Director of Center for Rehabilitation Outcomes Research and Professor, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University and David Chen, Section Chief of Spinal Cord Injury, Shirley Ryan AbilityLab, are the co-directors of the grant.