Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) affects over one million children annually with over 30,000 of these suffering lifelong disabilities caused by the injury. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) governs special education in the United States, defining disabilities and the ways that local schools should serve children with disabilities, including TBI.
Back to School: Special Education Needs
When a child with TBI is ready to return to school, caregivers should discuss with the educators what services are available. The first step will be to ask the school in writing for an assessment test. The school will perform a multi-factored evaluation of the child to determine the extent of the disability. Then, a team of teachers, the parents, the special education teacher, and a school psychologist will meet to decide what services will best help the child in the classroom.
If the team decides that special education services are required, an Individualized Education Plan, or IEP, will be developed. This plan is implemented in the classroom and used as a guide by which the child’s education can be tailored to meet his or her needs.
Tailoring the Plan
No brain injury is like another; each injury is different. Cases range from mild to severe and different types of cognitive or behavioral effects can be present. After the physical injury heals, parents and teachers must understand that problems with cognitive and social adjustments may exist. As the child matures, new learning problems may become apparent, requiring ongoing assessment and monitoring.
Common Educational Problems for Kids with TBI
In Kids with TBI, short-term memory problems are common. It may be difficult for the child to remember what the teacher just said or what the steps in a particular problem are. Written instructions and plenty of practice opportunities can help these kids stay on track. Thinking and reasoning skills may also be affected. The child may not be able to solve problems, read, pay attention or use logic as easily as they did prior to the injury. Patience and practice are the keys to helping such children.
Physical impairments may include changes in vision, difficulty speaking, seizures and excessive tiredness. Schools will consider these problems and find the best practices to help the child compensate for any physical problems. Behavioral and social problems can also be present. These may include depression, anxiety and delayed social development. Because emotional problems can lead to more severe problems in adulthood, it is important for parents and teachers to be aware of these problems and provide treatment when needed. Parents, teachers and medical professionals work best as a team in finding solutions for each child’s unique set of problems after a traumatic brain injury.
If your family is struggling with the after affects of TBI and believe the injury was the fault of someone else, the Brain Injury Law Center may be able to help you find adequate resources and compensation to provide the best possible help for your child. Contact our office today for more information and a free evaluation of your case.