Don't Give Up: Advocate for Your Child with Traumatic Brain Injury

Parents should follow their instincts. So the question is, what does a parent do 10 years later? Parents are the people who know their children the best, and they have to follow their instincts. We see stories all the time of parents who have had to go back, and once they get the connection, then they have to fight for what they want, and they should not give up for fighting for what their child needs in the school system. We have programs in place in every major school district to provide services, and part of the fight doesn't just come from asking for services but asking for services that are appropriate to brain injury. And this is a problem we've had and still do have even though, technically, we shouldn't have this problem anymore. We still have children with moderate to severe brain injury being put into special programs with children with CP or with other developmental disorders. And that's not really an appropriate place for a child with brain injury to be placed. So it comes down to education, and the more that gets out there, I think, we have a higher increase in parents who are coming in to us and saying, "My kid had an injury 10 years ago. Could this be what this is related to?" And that's where the field of pediatric neuropsychology, which is still one of the smallest specialties in this country--I think they number in the hundreds of people who are actually pediatric neuropsychologists in this country--really comes into play. Because that's the specialty that's very sensitive at picking up the relationship and the pattern of cognitive deficits. So pediatric neurologists and pediatric neuropsychologists become a huge player. And those neuropsychologists know how to manage the school systems and help develop IEPs or programs for children that are there.

Parents know their children better than anyone. Follow your instincts — right after your child's injury or ten years after the fact.

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Posted on BrainLine May 25, 2010.

Produced by Victoria Tilney McDonough and Brian King, BrainLine..