Long-Term Memory Problems in Children and Adolescents: Assessment, Intervention, and Effective Instruction

By Milton J. Dehn | Go to book overview

9 CHAPTER
Case Studies and Recommendations

ASSESSMENT CASE STUDY

The case of “Sarah” illustrates how a concussion (or mild traumatic brain injury) incurred during a school sporting event can cause memory problems that might persist for weeks or months. (A brief overview of Sarah’s injury, assessment, and memory problems is at the beginning of Chapter 4.) Sarah, a high school student, experienced post-concussion syndrome after being kicked in the forehead during a soccer match. Her physical symptoms consisted of dizziness, fatigue, nausea, and severe headaches. Her memory was also affected; for example, during the first few days following the injury she displayed amnesia for certain events and facts, such as being unable to recall the combination to her school locker. Despite her debilitating physical symptoms, Sarah returned to school within a few days even though she frequently was unable to complete a full day of school. After a month, the dizziness and nausea subsided, but she was still experiencing daily fatigue and migraine-like headaches.

Within a couple of weeks of the incident, Sarah’s normal grades indicated that she was not experiencing memory problems that were significantly impacting academic performance. Nonetheless, her parents suspected memory problems as they observed her and helped her study. During the first two weeks after the injury, it was obvious to her parents that Sarah was having difficulty remembering material she studied. Sarah also was having everyday memory problems, such as not remembering where she had placed objects at home. For a few days after the concussion, Sarah even displayed signs of partial temporary amnesia for skills and knowledge she had previously known, such as how to multiply. Sarah was frightened by the amnesic experiences, but after a few days she insisted that she was not having any memory problems. After learning more about the memory risks associated with mild head trauma, Sarah’s parents decided to have her memory tested.

When the memory evaluation was conducted 33 days after the injury, Sarah was still experiencing daily fatigue and headaches. During the interview with her mother present, Sarah gave the impression that she was no longer having any memory problems. In contrast, Sarah’s mother reported indications of minor ongoing memory problems, but Sarah disputed them all. The most interesting exchanges between Sarah and her mother involved recounting of past events, including events

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