Disseminating Information on Children with Brain Injuries: How to Educate Parents and Professionals outside Traditional Medical Settings

Article excerpt

What kinds of educational materials can best meet the needs of parents and professionals closely involved in the lives of children with brain injuries, and how should that information be presented? Those were the questions posed to parents, educators and physicians in a recent survey. The survey's emphasis was on products and program that could benefit children and adolescents with traumatic brain injuries once they return home from the hospital.

One group surveyed were members of chapters of the Brain Injury Association (formerly called the National Head Injury Foundation), many of whom are parents. Another group participating in the survey was comprised of professionals from various disciplines, all of whom are members of the association's National Task Force on Children and Adolescents. Strikingly, both groups identified similar needs and priorities for products and programs.

Parents' needs

Those responding to the survey believed that parents must have access to written information on such subjects as brain injury and its consequences, methods of coping, strategies, resources for advocacy and special education. They wanted the information for parents to be presented in brochures, pamphlets and checklists, as well as in tip cards---short, user-friendly, practical summaries of tips on specific topics.

Regarding the most effective places for providing information, responses focused on medical settings--emergency departments, acute-care hospitals and inpatient rehabilitation programs.

What educators need to know

Basic education on the subjects of brain injury, learning styles and behaviors was the top need identified for educators. Respondents also recommended that educators have information on methods for identifying students and appropriate educational interventions. According to the survey, conferences and workshops are the best methods for providing educators with that information. Respondents also suggested that this information be supplied to educators on an ongoing basis, rather than only at the time a child's injury first occurs.

Information for clinicians

The survey results showed that pediatricians, emergency medical workers and family practitioners au need information on children with brain injuries, specifically on ways of identifying acquired brain injury and methods of early intervention. …