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Did Your Newborn Suffer Cerebral
Palsy or Another Brain Injury Before
or During Labor and Delivery?

Learn More

Our Birth Brain Injury Resource Guide

the guide

Get a FREE guide of resources available throughout Ohio to children and families of children who were born with brain injuries.

Our guide can help you build a foundation of knowledge and tools that will help you help your child
now and in the future.

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Working with a school

Suffering from a Brain Injury (BI) at birth affects all aspects of a child’s life. Worried parents may wonder if their infant will ever grow to be able to attend a school like their non-disabled peers.

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Sometimes the effects of a BI are not noticed in toddlers but become apparent when the child enters formal education because of the increased cognitive demands. Going to school can be an important part of a young child’s educational development and growth. Group educational settings provide children with friends and peer support. They are places to develop social and critical thinking skills.

Parents and family members must be advocates for the child when he or she enters the educational system. Work with teachers and administration to make sure the student receives the right special services. Parents may act as a liaison between the school and the child’s medical team.

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Starting School

The majority of children who suffered a birth BI grow to successfully attend their regular, local school. Federal law in the U.S. requires public schools to provide special services to students with disabilities, including BI. It is important for parents to be advocates for their young children entering the educational system. Talk to the teachers and let them know what diagnosis your child has. The teachers and administrators may need you to release medical records to help them understand the students’ unique needs.

A gradual start to school may make the transition easier. Consider starting pre-k a few days a week around age 3 or 4. Some parents choose to do half-day kindergarten when their child is ready. The particular schedule for your child depends on the severity of the BI. Talk with your pediatrician for individualized recommendations for the transition.

Developing a Plan

Teachers and administrators can help guide parents through the special education process. Most districts employ and educational psychologist who may perform neuropsychological evaluations to establish a baseline for your child’s present abilities. This assessment will inform special services and provide a starting point for tracking the student’s progress. Parents and teachers can use information gathered from various sources, including standardized tests, to develop an Individualized Education Plan (IEP).

Public schools are legally required to provide special services and accommodations to students with disabilities. Parents are always invited to be a part of the processes in developing the IEP. Most have trained, special educators on staff to guide the process. Keep in mind that special educators are trained in assisting with a wide range of disabilities, and may not specialize specifically in BI. Parents can help by providing pertinent medical information, observations from how the child behaves, and what strategies have worked for the child.

Educational Accommodations

Special educators and your child’s classroom teacher can work with you to develop special accommodations. Schools are required by law to provide the services listed in the student’s IEP. Common special accommodations for students with BI are:

  • Additional time for tests and assignments
  • Completing tests and assignments one-on-one in environments free from distractions.
  • Oral rather than written tests
  • Placement in a small class with less noise and distractions
  • Visual cues or a visual schedule of the day
  • One-on-one tutoring
  • Shortened school day
  • Providing a place for break and rest