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Traumatic Brain Injury - A Child's Recovery

Robert Karns

It is important for the child with a traumatic brain injury to get back to school as soon as possible and the educators must be made aware of the injury. The school must be aware and it must be identified that the child has a traumatic brain injury. The school must perform an assessment to specify the cognitive challenges of the child. Classroom accommodations must be made in order to help the child with learning and emotional disabilities.

The child's return to school must be planned very carefully and parents must find out about the available special education services offered in their community. The school and the parents have to work together to develop an Individualized Education Program (IEP) that addresses all of the education and emotional needs of the child with a traumatic brain injury. An IEP is a flexible plan that can be changed to meet the needs of the child. If the school is not equipped to handle the child with the traumatic brain injury then alternative education can be arranged being paid for by the school system.

There are strategies for teaching in the classroom regarding a child with a traumatic brain injury including:

  • reducing distractions
  • dividing work into smaller sections
  • reminding the student to pay attention
  • frequently repeating information
  • have the student carry an assignment sheet
  • teaching the child to use devices including notes, calendars and assignment books
  • additional time for review
  • use of outlines
  • assigning a teacher's aide to work with the child

Several of these teaching strategies and many others can be incorporated in the IEP.

It has been recognized by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that a traumatic brain injury in a child with a developing brain will face not only current cognitive and emotional problems but will also face progressive cognitive, emotional and educational problems. This is because their ability to learn is hampered and the future lack of learning will cause progressive problems. The CDC has developed a work group to improve the clinical care of children with traumatic brain injury. The work group consists of physicians and psychologists that are members and advisors. These members and advisors of the work group come from all over the United States and are creating a clinical guideline for use in doctors' offices and emergency departments to help children with traumatic brain injuries.

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