Assessment and Your Child's Brain Injury: FAQs
All material Copyright © 2009 Lash & Associates Publishing/Training, Inc
This article is reprinted with the express permission of Lash & Associates as it appears on their website
By: Marilyn Lash, M.S.W.
NB: This article was originally written for parents. We present it here as it is an excellent resource to share with the parents of the kiddos you are treating.
What does the term assessment mean?
Assessment asks the fundamental question that all parents have after their child is injured, “How has this brain injury affected my child?” While clinicians and therapists may conduct formal testing, examinations and consultations to answer this question, assessment is a skill that need not be limited to doctors, case managers, therapists or educators. Parents are also capable of “assessing” their child. Rather than thinking of this in the formal jargon of assessment, consider it as a description of your child’s history, strengths and challenges. No one will ever know a child better than parents – both before and after the injury.
How can I help others understand the effects of my child’s brain injury?
Rather than feeling like an outsider, parents can and should play a central role in any discussion about their child. They have unique experience and perspective. The ability to quickly and accurately describe their child is a skill that parents can use repeatedly whether they are meeting with the neurologist, speech and language pathologist, neuropsychologist or special education coordinator. Think of it as putting together a verbal snapshot of your child. Ask yourself, “What are the most important things for this person to know about my child?”
What information should I provide about my child’s brain injury?
It is easier to organize your information if you do this in three steps. The first step is figuring out what information is needed. This depends on who you are talking with but there are some fundamentals or basics that everyone needs to know including:
- Current age of child
- Length of coma
- Age when injured
- Medical and rehabilitation treatment
- Cause of injury
- Current grade in school
- Severity of brain injury
- Changes seen at home
- Changes seen at school
The second step is to describe your child’s abilities and needs. When thinking about this, consider…
- Comparison of abilities before and after the injury
- Changes seen over time
- Changes in behavior at home
- Talking with your child
- Your child’s strongest abilities
- Your child’s major difficulties
The third step is to advocate and negotiate for the help and services that are needed for your child.
- Keep track of grades at school
- Talk with teachers, therapists and specialists
- Review educational plans, medical and rehabilitation reports
- Set up a 3 ring binder notebook to organize reports and information
- Summarize what help or services is your child receiving now
- Consider how effective current help or services are
- Identify what other help is needed
- Explain why additional help or services are needed.
By using these skills, families can have a more active role in working with educators and therapists to understand the needs of their child and to develop programs and services that will help their child.
Featured Authors and Organization: Lash & Associates Publishing/Training Inc.
We thank Lash & Associates Publishing/Training, Inc. for allowing PediaStaff to reprint their article.
Lash & Associates Publishing/Training, Inc. publishes practical, informative, and affordable materials on traumatic brain injury in children, youths, adults and veterans. Their audience includes families, persons with brain injuries, health care professionals, rehabilitation specialists, educators and community staff. In addition to an impressive library of written offerings, Lash & Associates offers CEU Online Training in the area of traumatic/acquired brain injury for professionals including therapists.
About the Authors:
Marilyn Lash M.S.W., uses her social work experience and research in pediatric rehabilitation to develop sensitive and practical guides for families, educators, and professionals. Marilyn’s specialty is helping families cope with the emotional impact of brain injury and developing strategies for negotiating the complex service system. Now Director and Senior Editor of Lash & Associates Publishing/Training Inc., she focuses on developing user friendly publications for families, educators, and clinicians.
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