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17 Feb 2004

Help for my brother
Good morning,

I was wondering whether you could help with regards to my brother. When my brother was very small he was in a very serious car accident that almost cost him his life. He has minor brain damage from this accident and most people looking at him will not even notice it, he might just appear a bit odd. Because of this brain damage, he is unable to interact in normal social way most men his age would do. He remains interested in things most boys would find interesting. He has no social interaction with other people and spends his time playing on his computer. He is nearing 30 now and still lives with my parents and is unemployed. He has no qualifications except matric and his lack of social skills has caused him to be rejected so many times in his life that he has become a complete recluse. My problem is this. My parents are also currently unemployed and are doing all kinds of odd jobs to keep food on the table. It has really become quite important for him to find employment and start a life on his own. But he has no experience of qualifications and he's a white male, making it even harder for him to find work. While I was at university I heard that there could be some social programs or social workers who would be able to help my brother get the help he needs to get on his feet. I'm newly married and trying to build a life of my own and can't afford to pay for my parents and my brohter's living expenses. Do you know of any programs or people I could make use of to get help for my brother? I love him dearly and he only needs someone who would be able to believe in him and give him a nudge in the right direction.
Answer 381 views
Expert
CyberShrink
cybershrink

01 Jan 0001

Helpless,
you raise some good points. I wonder if you're still in contact with the neurologist(s) who first treated him, as they should know specifically of local resources. Also, call the Stellenbosch University Mental Health Info Center for contact details of relevant organizations which could provide advice and help.
Much depends on the precise neurological / psychological diagnosis and asessment. If he managed to get matric and can amuse himself on the computer, presumably his intelligence is average or higher, so it may be mainly the lack of social skills that is holding him back. There are in some areas some sheltered workshops which, though they pay only minimal amounts, can help someone to get socialized back into work habits, and could advise him on finding better paying work. Similarly, the Dept of Labour ought to be able to advise on facilities.
He may be a pale male, but the Disabled are also supposed to receive preferential and affirmaive attention from employers, though this is often neglected until we get more militant about it.
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