Talking with Parents: When a Student has a Brain Injury

Talking with Parents: When a Student has a Brain Injury

Linda Robinson, R.N., Ph.D.c.
Talking with parents of a child with a traumatic brain injury (TBI) is important as they know their child best. This tip card helps educators and teachers communicate with parents effectively to gain their perspectives, needs and priorities for their child in school.
Item: TALK
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Full Description

Talking with parents of a child with a TBI is the first step in understanding the effects of a studentís brain injury. By learning how to communicate effectively with parents as partners rather than adversaries, school staff can work together to help the child and student with a traumatic brain injury (TBI). There are suggestions on how to involve parents in the special education IEP process. It gives strategies for resolving conflicts between parents and teachers and handling emotional confrontations. There are tips for discussing the effects of a student's brain injury on learning, social skills and academic performance.

Pages 8
Year Second edition, 2011


This tip card helps parents, educators and school staff...

  • understand parentsí perspective, needs and priorities
  • communicate effectively as partners rather than adversaries

A Parentís View

Interrupted Maturation

Family Assessment

Learning Curves

IEP meetings

  • Tips for helping parents with the IEP

Parent Teacher Conflicts

  • Frustration and Anger
  • Tips for communicating when a parent is angry


Development, personality or brain injury?

Parent expectations too high?

Constraints on teaching

  • Tips for championing the child




Sample excerpt. Preview only Ė please do not copy.

A Parentís View

No one wants a child to become independent and self-sufficient more than the parents. At best, brain injury interrupts that process; at worst, it threatens to stop or seriously delay it.

When a school-aged child is seriously injured, the school often keeps in close contact with the family as they worry together about the childís survival. But once the student is medically stable and returns home or moves on to rehabilitation, school staff and friends often assume that things are returning to normal.

Recovery and rehabilitation from a brain injury is a long and uncertain process. Many people associate brain injury with coma, severe physical disabilities, and difficulty communicating. Actually, the physical recovery of many children with brain injuries is so rapid that it seems like a miracle.

The student with a brain injury may appear to be no different than before the accident. Except now, this student is not as quick, gets angry more easily, and doesnít seem to ever have the right thing in the right place at the right time.

Parents notice their child now gets easily frustrated, canít remember things, is more disorganized, more moody, and gets upset more easily. School work that used to be easy is now harder and takes longer. ďAre these changes temporary or permanent?Ē is the question that worries many parents.

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