The most psychologically draining impairment was my inability to speak, eat, or drink. My tongue lay paralyzed in my mouth. The innate ability to communicate thoughts, emotions and simple daily life experiences was taken from me in only a matter of seconds.
The brains of children and adolescents are still developing, so an injury can have both immediate and long-term effects on youths. It is easier to see the visible physical changes that can result from a childhood injury. But it is the less visible but critically important changes in a child’s cognition – the ability to think and learn – that can affect a studen’ts ability to function in the classroom and learn in school. These blog articles help parents, educators and clinicians understand the unique needs of children and adolescents with TBI.
Changes in behavior after a brain injury can result in problems in the classroom for the student, along with frustration and confusion not only for the student but for teachers and parents as well. Dr. Katherine Kimes explains the importance of person-centered approaches for effective behavior management techniques. She provides examples of the antecedent-behavior-consequence approach, commonly known as the A-B-C Model of benavior management. Her behavioral checklist will help educators and therapists develop educational and behavioral plans for students with brain injuries.
Katie Gielas sustained a traumatic brain injury TBI in adolescence. She reveals her emotional trauma as she fell into a pit of grief and despair revealed by her poignant poem Obsidian. Her writing reveals the struggles and losses she has experienced with not only the loss of her friends, but the loss of her self.
After a severe concussion playing in her high school soccer game, Madeline Uretsky found herself still suffering from symptoms two years later. It affected every aspect of her life – her studies, friendships, family, and hopes for her future. She has learned to live with this “new normal” but often cannot do things that normal teenagers do, like going to the mall, movies, concerts, sporting events, stores, restaurants, or crowded places. Her experience has led her to educating students and athletes about concussion and advocacy for greater awareness.
Students with TBI often have injuries to their frontal lobes causing changes in their executive skills after brain injury. This can make it harder for them to initiate activities, plan and prioritize, organize their work, problem solve, and control impulses. Getting through the day at school and completing homework at home can be a struggle. Dr. Janet Tyler explains how specific classroom strategies can help these students learn more effectively and improve their executive skills after brain injury.
Children and adolescents with traumatic brain injury (TBI) often face many cognitive, academic, and behavioral challenges after their injury. New difficulties in school may arise as school work becomes more complex with each passing grade. By working closely with teachers and educators, parents can help ensure that their child has the best possible chance of succeeding in school. Dr. Janet Tyler discusses how parents and teachers can collaborate to learn about brain injury, how good parenting skills at home can make a difference, and the benefits of tutoring. Parents and educators will find this article practical and helpful.
On Saturday March 9, I woke up at 6:00am to take the infamous test that would decide my future…the SATs. I have been preparing weekly with a tutor for this test since January and it was a lot of hard and extra work. Going into the test, I felt very prepared and confident in my knowledge and ability. However, unlike someone without a concussion, I had to worry about more than just the test; I also had my symptoms to be concerned about. I also chose not to have extra time or accommodations for this test.
A child’s traumatic brain injury can affect the entire family system but too often the needs of siblings are overlooked. There are so many stresses for families after a child’s injury that it is often difficult to focus on the feelings and needs of the injured child’s siblings. Susan Davies gives suggestions and strategies to help siblings both in the immediate time after a child’s injury and over time.
Towards the end of the summer, I started to think about how my first day back at school would be with my brain injury aka the “invisible injury”, and how the year would go in general. Would I be able to make it through my first class? A whole school day? Do homework after school? Have a regular social life? Keep up with my schoolwork? There were so many things to consider and think about upon my return. I had missed a year of school and still had a brain injury. This was going to be a challenge.
Students with traumatic brain injury or TBI are often unidentified or underserved in schools as this diagnosis is still mistakenly considered a low incidence disability under special education. Dr. Katherine Kimes looks beyond the individual needs of students with TBI and discusses the “big picture” of why schools need to address this student population more effectively. She explains why parents and teachers must jointly plan and collaborate to provide effective service coordination for a student with a TBI.