Sunday, November 27, 2022

How Parents Can Communicate With Their Child’s School About Brain Injury

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In a 2010 report by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), nearly half a million emergency department visits each year are cases of traumatic brain injury (TBI) involving children aged 0 to 14 years.

This report was based on emergency department visits, hospitalizations, and deaths in the United States from 2002 to 2006.

Children who suffer from brain injury will most likely experience difficulties in speech, limited range of movement, epilepsy, sensory impairment, excessive tiredness, paralysis, and uncontrolled movement or ataxia.

Often, physical issues are not evident. However, these concerns can tremendously affect the children’s daily lives.

Problems with concentration, mood swings, depression, easy irritability, and changes in eating habits are common emotional and social issues that children with brain injury demonstrate. 

Other noticeable signs of brain injury include impulsive behavior, absence of motivation, anxiety, poor judgment, risky behavior, and indifference.

Why Should Parents Get the School Involved?

At home, parents can directly help their children cope with symptoms and difficulties linked to brain injury.

However, parents may also need to coordinate with their children’s schools to ensure that the kids receive an adequate level of education in the classroom.

The objective of coordinating with school personnel is to develop an individualized education program and integrate teaching strategies to accommodate the distinct needs of students with TBI.

Additionally, parents and teachers must recognize that children may be susceptible to accidents that may cause brain injury, whether these events transpire within the school or outside. 

To address this issue, the CDC encouraged schools to implement the HEADS UP program.

This program teaches school personnel like teachers and nurses, especially those part of the K-12 curriculum, how to respond to concussions in any school setting.

Regular Meetings with Teachers

Parents need to inform the teachers of the severity and injury type to manage their child’s brain injury better. They should also loop them in on the requirements for specialized devices and safety precautions as advised by the doctors.

Parents should also notify the educators about the seizure frequency, physical difficulties, communication challenges, and prescribed medication.

Regular meetings encourage information sharing between parents and teachers. This exchange may help create an individualized plan for the child with acquired brain injury.

For example, specific classroom interventions may need to be designed to meet the children’s changing needs.

More importantly, parents should actively take part in their children’s rehabilitation phase. Parents should continuously discuss the noticeable changes with caregivers, family members, and even school psychologists and teachers.

In Pennsylvania and Colorado, an education consultation system called BrainSTEPS encourages parents and educators to cooperate and deliver rehabilitation and educational services to students returning to school after a brain injury.

Consider speaking with teachers and healthcare professionals for suggested therapies and routines that may help ensure that the child’s needs are taken care of at home and in school.

Requests for Individualized Instruction

There may be times when typical classroom accommodations may be challenging for students with brain injury. In this case, parents may give explicit consent to the teachers for specialized teaching strategies.

Parents and teachers should collaborate when discussing tutoring systems or study groups to address the academic needs of students afflicted with brain injury.

Consistent coordination among parents and teachers concerning social adjustment strategies and classroom interventions will benefit students with brain injury.

Parents should also practice self-monitoring strategies and positive reinforcement training at home with their children.

Assistive Technology Devices

Parents of children with TBI may ask the school to allow their child to use assistive technology devices. These devices may help improve memory and concentration, as recommended by the teachers and school psychologists.

Smartphones, voice organizers, specialized watches, and screen reading software are popular devices designed to help with traumatic brain injury.

Mindfulness Meditation

Parents may suggest that the school introduce short guided mindfulness meditation in their school curriculum. Know more about this from Motherhood Community.

Research has found that meditation can positively impact an individual’s academic performance.

Mindfulness has also been observed to help:

  • Lower depression levels
  • Increase focus
  • Improve self-control
  • Enhance academic performance

Children with brain injury may practice mindfulness meditation at home and in school. This learning program may result in positive social relationships, reasoning, attention, information retrieval, openness, and conflict resolution.

A school in California that implemented meditation reported fewer violence-related reports, improved attendance, and enhanced academic performance.

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