How Schools Can Help Kids with TBI

Clinical psychologist Mariann Young talks about the myriad ways schools can help kids with TBI — from providing note-takers to assigning a lunchtime buddy.

See more video clips with Dr. Mariann Young.

[Marian Young, PhD] Parents don't necessarily know how to navigate a school system. [Mariann Young, PhD, Clinical Psychologist, Rainbow Rehabilitation Centers, Inc.] It really is a different language, so if you have a social worker discharge planner, a liaison that can help you start that process. You have, a lot of times, a child that will be referred for special education services, and those 2 words are foreign and not appreciated in a lot of families, so there may be some resistance to that. You know to explain how the referral process begins— if the child needs a resource room, if they need para pros. Schools are wonderful nowadays where they buddy kids up so that you don't even know necessarily that you're a special student because you're walking with another student who's assisting you in finding your classroom, who's assisting you in getting from place to place, who may sit close to you at lunch or at your table at lunch to ensure that things won't go awry, whether through a comment or— I mean you don't want a disinhibited kid to say something and it turns into sexual harassment. So you have someone that's around. You know those services are there. Teachers can do a tremendous amount of work, you know. They can write things out. They can have note takers. They can have the kids use planners, organizers, color-coded folders. If the child has a mood disorder or if they have difficulty with emotions, they can use cue words. They can have them leave the environment and walk in the hall. They can come in—they can use humor. God knows kids love humor, and I think people forget that and, you know, in order to change the topic, use that soothing voice. Use humor. Treat them with dignity and get them back to where they should be within the classroom. There's so much that can be done. Hopefully the school's open and they've either had educational seminars on brain injury or will allow someone to explain it, because it is different, and it is difficult, and the teachers can learn and can assist these students in so many ways in negotiating school again.
Posted on BrainLine April 30, 2014.

Produced by Victoria Tilney McDonough and Justin Rhodes, BrainLine.