Peer support

Akson's peer supporters are people with spinal cord injuries or family members of people with SCI. They have knowledge and experience of what it is like to live with a disability, which is something that cannot be learnt from a book. It may be impossible for someone who is newly injured to believe that anyone has survived a similar situation. But they have. A spinal cord injury is a turning point that requires a complete rethinking of one’s life. 

Akson has had the sole responsibility for peer support activities for people with spinal cord injuries since 1 June 2015. These activities were previously carried out by the Finnish Association of People with Physical Disabilities. Akson ran the MOVE project in 2014-2016, which was funded by Raha-automaattiyhdistys (Finland’s Slot Machine Association); its objective was to develop peer support activities for people with spinal cord injuries. That project ended at the end of 2016, but the MOVE project is now part of Akson’s basic operations.

If you would like to have peer support or if you are interested in offering peer support,
please contact us:

tel. +358 50 371 5400 or maarika.halonen@aksonry.fi

Who can be an Akson peer supporter?

People who are genuinely interested in participating and willing to give their time to help other people can offer peer support to others. Their experiences and insight can help those in the same situation.

Peer support training is intended for Akson members with spinal cord injuries or the family members of people with SCI. The injury has happened at least two years previously and the person interested in volunteering as a peer supporter has come to terms with their circumstances.

Peer councilor

A peer councilor is a person with a spinal cord injury with personal experience of rehabilitation and who has sufficient skills to offer peer support to a newly injured person.

A peer councilor offers rehabilitees support in adopting realistic goals and coping after the injury. You can talk to the specialist in confidence.

Peer rehabilitation specialists work as part of a rehabilitation team; they participate in training sessions and also have one-to-one meetings with rehabilitees. Peer rehabilitation specialists lead the rehabilitation process by their own example. Their tasks include demonstrating how to manage everyday chores, psychological support, helping with wheelchair fitting, issues related to adjusting to life at home, group lectures, activity groups for rehabilitees, and helping with moving around town and running errands, among other activities. Peer rehabilitation is always customised to meet rehabilitees’ individual needs. 

Peer rehabilitation specialists do not participate in treatment but they may be involved in helping the newly injured to practice activities such as dressing, moving around and handling a wheelchair. They also help rehabilitees to set goals for the peer rehabilitation activities.

Peer rehabilitation specialists also act as contact persons for peer support activities during the period of rehabilitation and moving back home. Peer supporters are people with spinal cord injuries. They have the knowledge and experience of what it is like to live with a disability. 

Akson provides peer rehabilitation services for Tampere and Oulu University Hospitals, both of which have spinal cord injury centres.