Online Learning Opportunities

SCI Alberta offers a range of online learning opportunities for individuals seeking certification to work as care providers, with course offerings in areas of peer mentor volunteer training, mental health, obtaining and maintaining employment, working as a home care provider, and more.

We welcome you to browse our Learning Centre’s online learning opportunities.

Video Playlists

This is a learning series put on by Spinal Cord Injury Alberta, in cooperation with Alberta Health
Services and Praxis Institute, to help continue the education of people with spinal cord injury as
well as the community around them, both professional and family/friends.

View here.

This playlist has a variety of videos where people in our spinal cord community have shared
different things they have learned during their journey.

View here.

This playlist hosts a number of videos where different people with spinal cord injuries let us into
their homes and share the different modifications, they have made to make their lives more
accessible.

View here.

This playlist shows a few different adapted vehicles as well as how different people with spinal
cord injuries access them.

View here.

This playlist hosts a number of different videos of ways people in our spinal community have
stayed active through sport, recreation and different leisure activities.

View here.

How the Spinal Cord Works​

The spinal cord is a thick bundle of nerves that runs through the vertebrae (backbones) in your spine. This nerve bundle is about 18 inches long, starting at the base of your brain and ending at your buttocks.

The spinal cord acts as a super-highway between your brain and the rest of your body. Want to take a step, or wriggle a finger? The message is sent in the form of nerve impulses. The highway runs in both directions: stub a toe or touch something sharp, and those pain or pressure signals speed back up to your brain faster than you can say “ow”.

Spinal Cord Injury​

A spinal cord injury is any sustained damage to the spinal cord, or the nerves at the end of the spinal canal. This can permanently impact many physiological areas, such as sensations, strength, motor ability and any other functions.

When the spinal cord is damaged, the highway is essentially closed. Nerve impulses can’t get through. This results in loss of mobility and sensation below the level of injury.

Traumatic vs Non-Traumatic​

A spinal cord injury occurs because of impact to the spinal cord from a traumatic event like a car crash, a fall, a violent act or a sporting activity.

A spinal cord injury can also occur because of a cancerous tumor, inflammation or infection. These spinal cord injuries are referred to as non-traumatic.

Complete vs Incomplete​

If the spinal cord is completely severed there is complete loss of mobility and sensation below the injury. If the spinal cord is not completely severed, a stream of nerve signals can still get through and may result in some feeling or movement below the injury.

Paraplegia vs Quadriplegia​

The location of your injury will determine what parts of your body have loss of mobility and sensation. The higher the injury, the more body parts that are affected. Of all people who have a spinal cord injury, it is about a 50/50 split for those who have quadriplegia or paraplegia.

Levels of Injury​

  • Neck injury
  • All four limbs affected including hands – quadriplegia or tetraplegia
  • May not be able to breathe on own
  • May affect speaking
  • May affect bowel and bladder

  • Middle back
  • Trunk and legs affected – paraplegia
  • May affect bowel and bladder

  • Lower back
  • Hips and legs affected
  • May affect bowel and bladder

  • Bottom of the spine
  • Hips and legs affected
  • May affect bowel and bladder

Sex & Sexuality​

One of the biggest misconceptions about life with a spinal cord injury is that you can’t have sex anymore or, if you do, it’s not as pleasurable. Fortunately, it’s a myth that people with spinal cord injuries can’t enjoy healthy sexual relationships with their partners.

SCI Alberta is pleased to provide video resources from Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto that dismantle myths about SCI and sexuality, while answering important questions about sex and sexuality for people living with spinal cord injuries.

Information on Injuries