Academic and behavioral outcomes in school-age South African children following severe traumatic brain injury

Children who experience traumatic brain injury (TBI) often experience a range of cognitive, behavioral, and emotional deficits. Because children’s brains are still developing, disruptions due to injury can have particularly serious consequences for academic and social success. Children who experience TBI may struggle to keep pace with their peers in educational settings, which is often associated with poorer outcomes later in life.

To gain a clearer understanding of the impact of TBI on school-age children in developing world countries, a South African study collected data on 27 children who were hospitalized for severe TBI. They found that severe TBI had profound, long-lasting implications for these children. More than two-thirds of the group were placed in special needs education after experiencing injury, and more than one-half repeated at least one grade after returning to school. Most of the children experienced behavioral problems and struggled with serious memory deficits.

After sustaining severe TBI, children may experience impairments in social and classroom settings. These children typically require additional management and care, which may include special needs education programs, behavioral support, and other academic services. Ensuring a healthy, productive school experience for children with TBI can improve long-term outcomes and improve quality of life.

Dollman AK, Figaji AA, & Schrieff-Elson LE. Academic and behavioral outcomes in school-age South African children following severe traumatic brain injury. Frontiers in Neuroanatomy. (December 2017).

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