Assisting students in the transition to school following a brain injury
Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is defined by IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Act) as “an acquired brain injury caused by an external physical force, resulting in a functional disability that adversely affects a child’s educational performance.”
Brain injury, including concussion, may occur as a result of a motor vehicle, bicycle, all-terrain vehicle or sledding accident, sports injury, fall or near drowning.
Each year approximately 4,000 of Pennsylvania's children survive severe traumatic brain injuries significant enough to require hospitalization. Many are left with life-altering difficulties in physical, cognitive, or behavioral functioning.
Educational concerns with TBIs
There are educational implications as a result of a brain injury which may have occurred recently or in the past. Typical difficulties may appear in the following areas:
- Academic performance
- Organization of information
- Problem solving
- Motor skills
- Social interactions
- Frustration tolerance
- Decreased safety awareness
- Mood swings
Consulting team services
The CSIU BrainSTEPS Consulting Team includes professionals who have received extensive training on educating students with TBI. Team members act as consultants and are available to provide basic training and resources to school districts and families residing in Columbia, Montour, Northumberland, Snyder and Union counties. The team provides consultation not only to students with TBI, but also to students with non-TBI, including strokes, tumors, lightning strike, anoxia/hypoxia and late-term chemotherapy/radiation effects on the brain.
The mission of the BrainSTEPS Consulting Team is to provide a bridge between the medical and educational communities. The Consulting Team can provide:
- consultation with school and medical professionals;
- school re-entry planning;
- educational programming;
- long-term monitoring; and
- training and support for district personnel.
The Brain Injury Association of Pennsylvania, under a grant from the PA Department of Health, and partnered with the PA Department of Education, created the Child & Adolescent Brain Injury School Re-Entry Program, BrainSTEPS, that is being used across the state.
BrainSTEPS (Strategies Teaching Educators, Parents, Students) is working to make sure that those who provide educational support to students with brain injury have a good understanding that will help these students achieve optimal educational success.