At 18 Ros was driving along a country bitumen road with four of her friends from boarding school. During a conversation with a friend in the back, Ros realised she was veering off the road and ended up having a car accident. While her friends thankfully walked away unscathed, Ros suffered a brain injury.
“A group of friends and I were all driving home from Perth to the country about four hours south of the city. I turned to look at my mate behind me and took my eyes off the road. My hands followed onto the gravel, and I overcorrected my car. I then ended up over a fence and that was all over red rover for me. Everyone else walked away, which is something that I will always feel blessed for,” said Ros.
Returning to work
Before her brain injury, Ros had started a hairdressing apprenticeship and really loved it. She loved the artistry of hairdressing and enjoyed creating things. When she returned after 19 months of rehab, Ros couldn’t continue her trade.
“I tried and I failed. It made me so sad because I was so good at it. I was in hospital for quite a while, and I couldn’t do it when I returned. I basically gave someone a full shower trying to wash her hair, she was drenched from head to toe, and I thought ‘I just can’t do this anymore.’ That was really horrible.
After Ros couldn’t work in hairdressing, she began working in disability to help others like herself as she struggled to find work.
“I was working in employment because I was trying to get a job after my injury, and I found it hard. So, I thought why not help others who are also like me. In my recovery and in employment I wanted people to get jobs they were happy with.”
Following her passion
In her teenage years, Ros enjoyed dancing and music and she still does despite having problems with balance. Now, Ros is also passionate about public speaking and educating people about the impact of a brain injury.
“I often get asked if I’ve had a stroke or if I have cerebral palsy and I just say, ‘I have a brain injury.’ I’m ok to stand up and say I have a brain injury and if they want to know more, I tell people more. It’s really the only way to help, so people understand. I’m 33 years into having a brain injury and now that I’m getting older, it’s getting harder. It’s just general aging as well but when your brain is not working the best it can make a big impact.”
Parenting with a brain injury
Ros is 33 years on from her acquiring her brain injury and is enjoying being a mum, despite parenting while living with a brain injury being a challenging journey for her.
“With parenting, it’s important for people to understand that a brain injury is not an intellectual disability, it’s not a mental illness. The kids are good, and I think it’s important that they understand, and I’ll just keep educating them about it.”
“My advice to anyone living with a brain injury is you’ve got to reinvent yourself. Don’t be afraid to give everything a try, who cares. I mean it’s taken me a while and you just got to go, yeah who cares. It’s your life, you’ve got to find what suits and makes you happy.”