SPONSORED BY BERKELEY COLLEGE AND THE NATIONAL REHABILITATION ASSOCIATION
Many of the effects of COVID-19 are still unknown, but there are resources and support for those suffering long-term symptoms of the virus, said experts during “Long Haulers: Post-Acute COVID-19 Syndrome
and the Aftermath of Cognitive Disability,” a webinar sponsored by Berkeley College and the National Rehabilitation Association’s Metropolitan New York Chapter on June 29, 2021. More than 600 attendees registered for the event, which focused on “long haulers” – those experiencing cognitive deficits after their initial infection from COVID-19.
“The truth is, we still don’t have all of the answers,” said Michael J. Smith, President of Berkeley College, in his opening remarks. “The one thing we do know is that COVID changed a lot about our lives. Our hope at Berkeley College is that by hosting this event, everyone gets a better understanding of how to navigate the important resources that exist, and that those with long hauler symptoms understand that they are not alone.”
Sharon McLennon-Wier, PhD, Director of Disability Services, Berkeley College, spoke about the stigma that those who contracted COVID-19 may be experiencing.
“It’s quite a psychological adjustment to how society is going to treat you, with a new label,” McLennon-Wier said. “Stigma is a very strong word – it’s a horrible word, because you feel that you are not good enough to compete in society. But a lot of what stigma is about is fear. When we look at stigma in regard to COVID-19, a lot of it is just not knowing what the expectations may be.”
Bonnie Marks, PsyD, Senior Psychologist, Brain Injury Day Treatment Program, Rusk Institute, spoke about the varied and persistent symptoms of COVID-19, including impaired concentration, loss of short-term memory, frequent headaches and fatigue.
“It ranges from mild to incapacitating,” Marks said. “There are a wide range of symptoms.”
Research by hospitals such as Memorial Sloan Kettering, Johns Hopkins, National Institutes of Health and others will continue to inform the conversation in the coming months and years, she added.
Tracie DeFreitas, Principal Consultant, ADA Specialist, Job Accommodation Network (JAN), spoke about resources for long haulers.
“It’s important to learn about the Americans with Disabilities Act and whether the law applies to you,” DeFreitas said. “This is a law that might afford you the possibility of adjustments at work – reasonable accommodations that might help you address some of the limitations you are experiencing in terms of performing job duties.”
Berkeley College celebrates its 90th anniversary in 2021. The theme commemorating this milestone is “Empowering Lives for 90 Years!” Visit the 90th Anniversary webpage for more information.
About the National Rehabilitation Association
The National Rehabilitation Association (NRA) is the oldest professional member organization in the United States that advocates for the rights of individuals with disabilities while also promoting high quality, ethical, and collaborative practice across the rehabilitation profession. The NRA, comprised of counselors, educators, researchers, and diverse agents of community integration, is committed to continuously impacting and improving upon the multifaceted conditions, across our society, necessary to enhance quality of life of individuals with disabilities, their families, and our communities.
About Berkeley College
Berkeley College, founded in 1931, is a career-focused institution accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education that offers students Master’s, Bachelor’s, and Associate’s degree and Certificate programs in more than 20 career fields. The College also offers continuing education programs to enhance career credentials.
Berkeley College has campuses in Midtown Manhattan and White Plains, NY, as well as in Newark, Paramus, Woodbridge and Woodland Park, NJ, with more than 4,900 students enrolled. In addition, Berkeley College Online® serves a global population. U.S. News & World Report has named Berkeley College among the Best Colleges for Online Bachelor’s Programs and among the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Veterans, for eight consecutive years. The website address is http://www.BerkeleyCollege.edu
The mission of Berkeley College is to empower students to achieve lifelong success in dynamic careers.
Photo Caption: Michael J. Smith, President of Berkeley College (right, second from top) delivers opening remarks during “Long Haulers: Post-Acute COVID-19 Syndrome and the Aftermath of Cognitive Disability,” a webinar sponsored by Berkeley College and the National Rehabilitation Association’s Metropolitan New York Chapter on June 29, 2021.