In 2010 Julian was days away from beginning university to study linguistics when he was hit head-on by a car.
“My parents were told that it was unlikely that I would survive the night, and that if I did, I may not speak or see again. It’s God’s miracle that I am alive,” Julian said.
Recovery and rehabilitation
Julian spent a total of six months in hospital, and underwent occupational therapy and speech therapy.
“I wasn’t allowed to leave the ward by myself, and I was bored. I looked forward to returning home and being busy,” However, Julian found that at home he didn’t have enough to do to fill his days. It was at this time, a family friend gave him a copy of a book produced by Synapse called Surviving Acquired Brain Injury.
Before his accident, Julian had set his sight on linguistics as a career. With the support of his family, Julian set himself the goal of translating Surviving Acquired Brain Injury into Spanish. It took Julian four months to translate the 300 pages of text into Spanish.
Julian’s Rehabilitation Coordinator was so impressed with his effort that she contacted Synapse to tell them about the translation. Synapse asked to meet Julian and shared his story with the community at the time. As a result, he started volunteering at Synapse twice a week on translating Synapse publications into Spanish.
Working at Synapse
Julian said that the role with Synapse is an important part of his life.
“It is important to me to feel useful, normal, to wake up and have responsibilities. It is really important to have that motivation in my life,” he said. “I began volunteering for one hour twice a week, and gradually increased to three hours a day three times a week.”
“I love to participate in any activity with my work. I am really happy working here because they understand what it is like for people like me and they help people with brain injuries to reach their full potential,” Julian said.
After a period of volunteering, Synapse offered Julian a part-time paid position.
“One beautiful day, Synapse gave me a certificate of appreciation for the time I had been volunteering, and gave me the wonderful news that I was to be paid for my work – it was the best day. For me it was the best way to link back to the workforce after my discharge,” Julian said.
Julian brings skills in linguistics, his personal experiences and has assisted with the co-design of Synapse projects.
“I have always been happy here at Synapse, everyone has been lovely, I enjoy my job very much.”
Julian balances his part-time work at Synapse with studying Japanese through the University of Queensland and AUSLAN (sign language) at Deaf Services Queensland. He aims to become an interpreter in Spanish and AUSLAN.