Kevin’s Story: Achieving Independence Through Supported Living
Just as no two people are the same, no two brain injuries are alike.
NeuroRestorative’s supported living programs are designed to offer flexible, individualized support for people with brain injury—like Kevin Urban—throughout their lives.
Kevin Urban sits with a drawing pencil in his hand hunched over a white sketchpad with the black outline of a wave on it. He typically goes through several of these conceptual drawings before beginning any of his paintings. This new piece is just one of many that Kevin has created since moving to King House four months ago. At King House, one of NeuroRestorative New Hampshire’s supported living programs, Kevin receives services and supports designed to increase his independence and improve his quality of life.
“I enjoy using different mediums, including chalk, acrylics and ink,” said Kevin. “This drawing is a surfing scene. There are waves, a beach and a sunrise.”
Art has been an interest of Kevin’s since he was a child. Born prematurely at 28 weeks, Kevin experienced a series of health complications, including a loss of oxygen to the brain, resulting in anoxic brain injury. Growing up with a brain injury, things were not always easy for Kevin. He found himself struggling to relate to his peers and develop friendships, but outlets such as art and music offered him a way to express himself.
“Kevin was always talented when it came to art,” said his mom, Brenda Urban. “He drew all the time and attended the summer art program at Currier Museum of Art near our home in New Hampshire.”
NeuroRestorative’s expert therapists recognize that each individual is unique and work to incorporate the interests of the participant when developing their brain injury rehabilitation plan and ongoing support. Participants, like Kevin, are encouraged to engage in personal interests such as music or art, and the treatment team strives to develop opportunities for educational, recreational and community activities that reflect a participant’s interests throughout the rehabilitative process. NeuroRestorative’s supported living programs specialize in empowering participants by offering them the opportunity to live as independently as possible and become contributing members of the community, while still receiving the support they need to improve their quality of life.
“In NeuroRestorative’s supported living programs, we encourage participants to do as much for themselves as possible, knowing that our staff is there to support them when they need it, “said Quentin Goble, House Manager at King House.
Prior to coming to NeuroRestorative, Kevin briefly attended college, but had a hard time and was unable to continue his studies. He then spent a year in Job Corps, a U.S. Department of Labor program designed for young people to receive technical career training, where he learned vocational skills including plumbing and facilities maintenance. Despite being offered a plumbing job following the program, Kevin decided that he was not yet ready to be completely on his own.
Kevin, now 23, is one of eight young adults living at King House. Along with support that is completely individualized, the program offers participants the added benefit of living in a supportive community setting surrounded by their peers. Although they share a home, the residents of King House enjoy their own independence with private rooms and varying schedules. Kevin regularly helps with house grocery shopping and is learning to cook and prepare meals for himself utilizing tools, such as a recipe journal, to assist him. He frequently ventures into the community, going to bookstores and cafes, shopping and to the movies. And Kevin has big plans for the future. He plans to apply to a local college and begin a major in visual arts which he hopes will one day allow him to earn a living using his artistic talents.
“Like any new program, it takes time to get acclimated to the environment, but it’s going well,” said Kevin.
“Our supported living programs offer individuals the opportunity to experience a meaningful quality of life,” said Bill Bauman, Supported Living Services Resource Specialist for NeuroRestorative. “Whether an individual requires short term or lifelong support, our continuums for residential, social, vocational and productive activities are key to the growth and development of each participant. This model allows individuals to move through our continuums at their own pace as they move through the different phases of their lives.”
“He is at the place [NeuroRestorative] where he needs to be in order to be as successful as he can be,” said Brenda. “He is somewhere where he is supported and where he feels valued.”
“As much as I love my parents, it feels good to be out on my own. It’s liberating,” said Kevin. “A parent can only teach a child so much, and this program is now an extension of that. It’s the next part of my life.”
Learn more about NeuroRestorative’s supported living programs across the country.