For Children: Getting Help at School

A traumatic brain injury can present many challenges at school.

These challenges might be physical, cognitive, behavioral or social - or a combination of all four. For that reason, it is important that school administrators have full knowledge of the extent of the student's injury. School officials can alert a parent or guardian of the need for treatment if the parent is unaware, and can ensure that school resources are best used to ease the child's return to school and that the child is doing well in the school environment. They can also ensure that accommodations in the classroom are set in place, to enable the child to function in a mainstream classroom, if possible. Parents and guardians should check with school administrators for options available within the child's school district.

The professionals involved in the treatment of the student outside the classroom can also be helpful - in developing a plan for using school resources and for introducing accommodations in the classroom to help the TBI-injured student. They should point out to school personnel that changes in the classroom that help the injured student also usually help other students.

Parents and guardians can be helpful by ensuring that the school is following the prescribed adaptations to the classroom and to the methods of teaching. Conferences with teachers should occur more frequently than they did before the injury. Keeping track of the injured student's progress in the classroom can prevent unnecessary delays in learning. Parents also need to ensure that in each new school year, every person who will teach the child is aware of the child's brain injury and the types of accommodations that have been implemented in prior years. As the child grows older, and the material to be learned becomes more complex, parents and guardians should request periodic reviews of accommodations and request changes as necessary. Being an advocate is an important role for the parent or guardian of a child with a traumatic brain injury.

Frustration can be expected, but can be minimized if the school administrators and staff are aware of the specific difficulties faced by the student with a TBI.