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Submitted By: Janelle Anderson, MA, CCC-SLP, CBIS, Early Career Member; Mentis Neuro Rehabilitation, El Paso, TX

As a practicing Speech-Language Pathologist in a post-acute neurorehabilitation setting, I was figuratively, like a kid in a candy shop, when the first edition ACRM Cognitive Rehabilitation Manual hit the stand. It quickly became my largest reference and practice standard; in addition to my first in-depth exposure to the collaborative efforts of ACRM.

During our company’s most recent CARF survey, I had the pleasure of interacting with Preston Harley, PhD, FACRM on several occasions to discuss program outcome collection methods as well as cognitive rehabilitation. He recommended that I consider a more active role in ACRM and suggested that I attend the Mid-Year Meeting in Atlanta at the Shepherd Center. Thankfully, my administration supported my participation on short notice.

My time there was invaluable and further ignited my enthusiasm within this field and as an ACRM Early Career Member. During the Mid-Year Meeting, I focused most of my attention on the Cognitive Rehabilitation and Mild TBI task forces of the BI-ISIG. I was surprised to discover how inclusive, interactive, and hardworking the groups were.

For example, the Mild TBI Task Force discussed aggregating and consolidating available but scattered mTBI resources to increase their access by health care providers, identifying research questions for literature development, and problem solving national media issues. The Cognitive Rehabilitation Task Force discussed development of the Cognitive Rehabilitation Manual and potential collaboration with other BI associations. Group members also participated in systematic reviews of cognitive treatment literature generated in the last 5 years for qualitative rating assignments.

The ACRM Mid-Year Meeting and Annual Conference, Progress in Rehabilitation Research are two opportunities within the year that group members are able to collaborate face to face; however, the work does not stop there. Group members convene by conference call at least once a month to keep their initiatives moving forward. Along with BI-ISIG involvement, the Mid-Year Meeting is an excellent opportunity to network with the most seasoned professionals as well as early career members. The organization made such an impression on me that I look forward to being intricately involved in ACRM and its special interest groups for many years to come.