Potential Impact on Classroom Performance
Concussions/mTBIs are invisible* injuries that suddenly impact a student’s typical thinking, learning, and behavior. Classroom teachers and school nurses are often the first educational professionals to notice these changes in a student. The symptoms a student experiences that impact thinking and recall, as well as physical and emotional well-being, may impact the student’s academics temporarily, and in some cases permanently. It is important to recognize the signs of concussion and to understand how to assist a student’s recovery while at school by utilizing proper accommodations across all settings.
The student should be medically evaluated and follow treatment recommended by a physician who has experience in managing concussions. This treatment may include remaining at home on total rest for the first several days after concussion occurs. The risk of sustaining a second concussion before the first concussion has healed can have devastating long-term consequences, such as long-term disability.
The majority of concussions resolve within 4 weeks; however, many symptoms may linger for months or even last a lifetime. If a student does not recover within the typical 4-week trajectory, the student should be referred for assistance with individualized accommodation selection, consultation, and training. If the student continues to remain symptomatic past 4 to 8 weeks,a referral for a multifunctional evaluation should be made.
Once the concussed student returns to school, Staff should employ academic accommodations to enable the student to remain successful at school. Encouraging the student to “push through” symptoms, rather than managing symptoms, can prolong recovery and intensify symptom severity. Over time, it is crucial to gradually increase a student’s cognitive activity while monitoring the student to ensure that he or she remains below the individual symptom threshold. For example, if the student becomes symptomatic with an increase in cognitive activity, cognitive activity should be reduced.