School Issues

Whether a student with traumatic brain injury is in elementary school or in college, transitioning back to school post-injury can be difficult on many levels.

Sometimes a student's traumatic brain injury goes undiagnosed or is misdiagnosed as a learning disability or behavioral problem. After all, problems from a brain injury can be similar to those related to a learning disability, so getting an accurate diagnosis can make all the difference. A correct diagnosis can lead to more a tailored -- and successful treatment plan.

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Tools and Resources for Educators Working with Kids with TBI

Tools and Resources for Educators Working with Kids with TBI
[Dr. Ann Glang] There are a lot of tools and resources for learning about childhood brain injury on the Internet. And they vary from here's basic TBI 101, what happens when a child has a brain injury, the mechanisms of injury, what kinds of effects you see in the classroom, how their family is impacted. There are video-based and text-based materials on the web, as well as there's DVDs and CDs that you can access. We have put together—at my office at Teaching Research Institute— with Pat Sublette and some other colleagues, we've put together TBIed.org. And that website is very practical. It has things like, "So you need to develop an Individual Education Plan for a child. What kinds of things do you need to make sure you include?" We have forms there and lots of very practical hands-on information for educators who are working with kids with brain injury.

Simple Ways to Help Your Child Succeed in School After a TBI

Simple Ways to Help Your Child Succeed in School After a TBI
One level of treatment is what is going to go on with the child when he or she goes back to school. And there, I think there is a need to get the school onboard with the issue that all of sudden this wonderful child who has been doing well has these learning challenges that were not there yesterday, and not to mislabel those--and I can cite some horror stories-- and to not be resistant to providing the child with the kind of accommodations that he or she may need. So, some simple things that can be done would be providing the child with two sets of books, so you use a set of books in the classroom, you use a set of books at home, so you don't have to worry about the child forgetting the books. Mom knows what homework assignments are being given every week, so that she can be onboard with what the child needs to do. The teacher summarizes a lesson every day before it begins, and then resummarizes it at the end, so you're providing the child with the utmost structure. The child has a schedule of where they need to be. You may need a notetaker. You may need to have a tape recorder. So these are the kinds of accommodations that are cheap; they don't cost a lot of money and shouldn't drive people crazy because you want to spend all the taxpayers' dollars just for your child.

Programs in High Schools Can Help Teens with TBI Set New or Different Goals

Programs in High Schools Can Help Teens with TBI Set New or Different Goals
[Dr. Juliet Haarbauer-Krupa] I think teens need to be in an environment that supports that kind of attitude— that okay, so this path didn't work rather than "you're a failure"—it's not working for you. I did work with a teen who started out in pre-med and just could not manage the complexity of the math and was very disappointed, but we looked to see "What can you do—what are you interested in? You like the science—those grades are pretty good. How about looking at wildlife biology?" You're just making suggestions to try and then teaching them how to evaluate whether it syncs. We've had several teens in high school who really were discouraged by their academic performance. High schools now are starting to offer different curricula that can help with your career pathway—technology is one. Many high schools will have coursework that starts with basic-level keyboarding, web design, and computer repair. So if a teen is interested at all in technology and can get into those courses and get that kind of certificate, that at least gives them some skills for after high school so that maybe they want to try first a technology program because you have this background and you excelled in it. Culinary is another one we see a lot of kids interested in, and many high schools are starting culinary programs. So it's good to look at your high school. See what your high school has to offer that would give you some skills when you leave.

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