It has been shown that the effects of a concussion, or traumatic brain injury, on a student's return to school are unique to each individual. Most of the time a concussion will not significantly limit a students participation in the classroom, but in some cases, the injury can affect multiple aspects of the individual's ability to participate, learn, and perform well in school. In some cases, the experience of learning or engaging in academic activities that require concentration can cause the symptoms of the injury to reappear. Given this circumstance, a students specific needs may to be tailored with academic adjustments to help ease the transition.
So, how do you tell if your student is ready to go back to school? The first thing is to for them to be seen by a healthcare professional that is experienced in evaluating a concussion. They can make the determination on whether or not your child is ready to face the classroom based on the number, type, and severity of the symptoms. They will also offer guidance on the appropriate levels of cognitive and physical activity for the student. It is also beneficial to give permission to your child's teachers and assistants to monitor behavior and functions and then share those with you and any other professionals involved in the recovery process.
Below is a short list of what school professionals should watch for in a student returning after a concussion.
- Increased problems paying attention or concentrating
- Increased problems remembering or learning new information
- Longer time needed to complete tasks or assignments
- Difficulty organizing or shifting between tasks
- Inappropriate or impulsive behavior
- Less ability to copy with stress
- Overly emotional and/or difficulty handling the stimulating school environment like lights and noise
- Physical symptoms like headaches, nausea, and dizziness
If your child has had a concussion or traumatic brain injury, it is important they are seen by a professional and that every precaution is taken to help them heal. Returning to school will help with that healing process, however school professionals should be aware of what to look for and how to help.