Returning to School After Sustaining a Traumatic Brain Injury
Now that summer is over, children of all ages are returning to school and preparing for a semester filled with books, studying, and after-school activities. But what options are available for a young person who has sustained a traumatic brain injury (TBI) over summer break?
TBI & Children
A child can suffer a brain injury after experiencing a violent blow to the head. In fact, statistics compiled by Mayo Clinic reveal that children (newborns to 4-year-olds) and young adults (15-24) are most at risk of suffering TBI.
The following events commonly result in child TBI:
- Automobile collisions
- Sports-related injuries
- Acts of violence
How Does TBI Affect Students?
A traumatic brain injury can lead to a farrago of physical, cognitive, emotional, and behavioral changes. Understandably, it’s not unusual for a child with TBI to feel frustrated and confused when processing new information or interacting with their peers. For this reason, parental involvement is crucial when a child is returning to school after sustaining a brain injury.
A parent should consult with the following rehabilitation professionals (as needed) before sending their child back to school:
- Occupational therapist
- Speech pathologist
- Physical therapist
Most school systems have special programs to help students with disabilities. However, because every case of TBI is unique, a teacher may struggle to recognize and effectively manage one child’s specific symptoms without parental assistance.
Teachers need to consider the following factors when educating a student with TBI:
- Children with TBI can experience sensory overload anxiety in crowded classes and noisy spaces.
- Students with TBI tend to struggle with information overload.
- Children with TBI can suffer emotional distress if they feel overwhelmed in the classroom.
- Students with TBI may act out if they are fatigued or overwhelmed by physical and cognitive activities.
- Children with TBI may respond negatively to unexpected events or changes in their learning schedules.
Before the semester starts, a parent needs to meet with school personnel to discuss possible TBI challenges and in-class support options. This step is critical because it prepares the teacher and the school for unexpected contingencies and medical emergencies. If a parent is uncertain about their child’s needs, they can ask a rehabilitation professional for assistance. This specialist can facilitate the meeting, provide critical information, predict situational conflicts, and suggest learning strategies for the student.
Parents and school personnel need to evaluate the following questions to help the student succeed academically:
- What are the student’s educational goals?
- What environment does the student find most conducive to learning?
- Does the student require structured learning techniques?
- Are there disadvantages to placing the child in a special program (instead of a regular classroom)?
- What teaching methods inspire the student’s confidence?
- Will specialized instructional techniques injure the student’s confidence or enhance their learning potential?
- Would the student benefit from learning employment skills inside and/or outside of the classroom?
- Should the student focus on learning functional skills to improve their options for independent living and employment?
Was Your Child’s TBI Caused by a Negligent Party?
Most traumatic brain injuries are caused by motor vehicle collisions, being struck by an object, and serious falls. If your child’s injury was caused by the actions of a negligent party, please contact the brain injury attorneys at Scarlett Law Group as soon as possible. We can help you recover damages that provide for your child’s medical bills and special education needs.
Contact Scarlett Law Group at (415) 688-2176 to explore your options with an experienced lawyer.