School-Based Plan for Student Support

Jeanne E. Dise-Lewis, PhD, The Children's Hospital Colorado
School-Based Plan for Student Support

Weaving a Safety Net After Concussion

Almost all post-concussion management programs for children and teens emphasize the importance of "cognitive rest." It is rare that a student will need a formal educational  plan (504 or IEP). A school-based plan of temporary accommodations is the best way to assure the optimal environment for students during the first 6 to 8 weeks after a concussion.

Convene a school team meeting

  • Include the student’s parents, all of the student’s teachers, the school psychologist, and nurse.
  • Identify a school Case Manager who will lead the team.
  • Share general concussion education resources (CDC Guidelines; School District information)
  • Develop procedures for implementing the student’s plan of support
  • Discuss how to provide a supportive safety net for the student considering the following cognitive processes almost always affected by concussion.

Cognitive processes almost always affected by concussion

  • Complex, integrative thinking — such as is required for successful participation in class discussions, AP classes, taking complete notes, "thinking on one’s feet"
  • Written language — term papers, scientific reports, essay exams, paragraphs
  • Mental efficiency — thinking is laborious, multi-tasking is very difficult
  • Mental processing speed
  • Organization — such as is required for planning long-range or multi-step projects, also planning and executing homework assignments given by multiple teachers.
  •  Any areas of pre-injury cognitive weakness will be exaggerated.

Develop a Working Plan of  temporary accommodations, potentially including:

  • Excuse the student from any missed assignments.
  • Integrate all class expectations , test, and Project schedules across teachers.
  • Negotiate multiple assignments so that they are not occurring at the same time.
  • Assign a good note-taker in each class whose notes are copied and provided to the student daily.
  • Plan a study hall each day to review and consolidate new learning and to organize upcoming projects, tests, and assignments.
  • Assign a counselor to meet with the student at the end of each day to check in, problem-solve, and assure that homework needs are being addressed.
  • Consider carefully upcoming standardized tests (especially SAT and ACT) and advise student as to taking these during  this time.

See other articles by Jeanne Dise-Lewis, PhD.

Posted on BrainLine May 8, 2012.

Written by Jeanne Dise-Lewis, PhD, The Children's Hospital Colorado. Used with permission.