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Easter Seals Launches Nationwide Program for U.S. Service Members and Veterans Deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan with Traumatic Brain Injury
Date:1/31/2008

CHICAGO, Jan. 31 /PRNewswire/ -- Easter Seals, with funding from the Ludy Family Foundation and W.K. Kellogg Foundation, is launching a new nationwide program to help returning veterans with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) through Posit Science(R) Brain Fitness Program -- an in-home, computer-based cognitive training program -- and by providing participants and their families with other essential Easter Seals services and supports.

Signature Wound, Significant Needs

Traumatic Brain Injury has become the signature wound of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Caused by exposure to blast waves from explosive devices, TBI can cause memory loss, headaches, difficulty concentrating or making decisions, slowness in thinking and communicating, mood changes, ringing in the ears, and other symptoms that can significantly disrupt relationships and undermine the potential for successful reintegration to civilian life. Army officials have recently cited that one in every nine American soldiers deployed to Iraq suffers a traumatic brain injury.

"Thousands of injured service members and veterans are returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan to communities nationwide with hopes of transitioning to a successful civilian life," says Doug Carmon, assistant vice president, Easter Seals Military and Veterans Initiatives. "However, many face gaps and barriers to access health care, job training and employment, housing, recreation, and transportation -- limiting their ability to fully participate in family and community life. They are struggling, bound to a system that is itself stressed and often ill-equipped to meet their unique needs, especially those with TBI."

According to Department of Defense statistics, there are more than 22,000 current bomb blast survivors, with TBI estimated to affect at least 25 percent. As early diagnosis of TBI can be difficult during rapid transitions from the battlefield to definitive healthcare to discharge, the incidence of TBI among troops may be significantly higher than these figures suggest.

Nationwide, health care professionals have suggested that at least 30 percent of troops who have engaged in active combat for four months or longer in Iraq and Afghanistan are at risk of neurological disorders from exposure to blasts from improvised explosive devices and mortars, often without ever suffering a scratch.

Getting Help at Home

For nearly 90 years, Easter Seals has played a leading role in helping veterans with disabilities in their local communities through medical rehabilitation, home accessibility, job training and employment, and recreation.

The Posit Science Brain Fitness Program is a non-invasive computer-based software program clinically proven to help people think faster, focus better, and remember more. In published studies the program has been shown to improve memory by an average of 10 years, and the gains generalize to untrained tasks. This program is evaluating the efficacy for the Brain Fitness Program for individuals with TBI.

Now nationwide, Easter Seals Veterans with TBI Project includes remote participation, and support for service members and veterans via telephone and email that also provides opportunities for referral to community resources as needed, allowing more participants to be served from nearly any internet capable computer nationwide.

Iraq and Afghanistan military service members and veterans who were involved in any blasts (from IEDs, mortars, land mines, grenade, RPG, etc.) or sustained a head injury (from a bullet, vehicle accident, or fall) and are currently experiencing ANY of the following: easily irritated or angered; headaches; ringing in the ears; blurred vision; feeling light-headed or dizzy; trouble with memory; attention, or concentration; easily confused or overwhelmed; problems with sleeping; balance problems; trouble with organizing activities or thoughts; slowed thinking, moving, speaking or reading or been told they have TBI are invited to take part in a computer-based rehabilitation program that is designed to improve thinking skills and memory.

The eight week program is part of a service project involving Easter Seals and Posit Science and is offered free of charge to service members and veterans. A disability rating is not needed to participate and enrollment is now. Participants who complete the program will receive a modest stipend and reimbursement for program-related expenses. Participant privacy and confidentiality will be strictly enforced and maintained. Service members and veterans who fit this description and their families are encouraged to call toll-free 866.423.4981 or email: veterans@easterseals.com to participate in this pilot project.

About Posit Science

Posit Science Corporation develops science-based brain health programs. The company works with more than 50 brain scientists from leading universities around the world to create training programs that enhance cognitive performance. Its assessments and exercises are based on neuroplasticity -- the brain's ability to "rewire" through intensive, repetitive and progressively challenging activity. Posit Science has received several grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), was named "Best Small Company" by the American Society on Aging and "Best Fitness Initiative" by the Consumer Health World Conference, and was selected as one of the "medical breakthroughs of the year" by CNBC. For more information visit http://www.positscience.com or call 800.514.3975.

About Easter Seals

Easter Seals is the leading non-profit provider of services for individuals with autism, develop-mental disabilities, physical and mental disabilities, and other special needs. For nearly 90 years, we have been offering help and hope to children and adults living with disabilities, and to the families who love them. Through therapy, training, education and support services, Easter Seals creates life-changing solutions so that people with disabilities can live, learn, work and play in their communities. Support children and adults with disabilities at http://www.easterseals.com.


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SOURCE Easter Seals
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