Information for SENDCos, and others at school
SENDCos are usually the first post of call when a pupil has an ABI. If you are invited to a discharge planning meeting in the hospital this can provide a lot of information about the young person, but please remember that as recovery occurs there will be changes every day, progress will be made, but it is also possible for the young person to seem to regress as they deal with new situations, fatigue or illness.
What is helpful when a young person returns to school after an ABI?
- Partial timetable: pupils usually are very fatigued and a gradual return to school is recommended even if they have had input from home teachers. How much the young person will be able to engage and what rest breaks they need is very individual.
- Explanation to class: what is said to the class depends on the age of the pupil. Whatever is said should be discussed and agreed with the parents and the young person concerned
- Avoid corridor traffic jams: corridors are crowded places at change of lesson and at breaks. You will need to think of how this can be avoided
- PE only with medical permission: ask the young person's neurologist if you are not sure. Usually the advice is no contact sports for 6 months.
- Classroom assistance by person who is known and trusted; having a consistent adult to help with reintegration brings security and that person can advocate with other staff about changes which need to be made to tasks and/or timetables.
- Home- School communication; this is imperative, not just in the first few months after the injury, but probably for the rest of the young person's school career to avoid misunderstandings, support homework and make sure schooling is productive.
- Preparation for changes to the curriculum; it can be very difficult for the young person to understand changes to the usual way of doing things, so these need to be prepared carefully. Even class treats can be scary and will need to be prepared.
- Informing staff: sending staff on training courses about ABI will give them insights which they will not get from reading. SHIPS training days which focus on the needs of the particular pupils represented by the delegates are listed here. For our more general July conference, click here.
What about young people who had an ABI many years ago?
Unfortunately the damaged nerves will not regenerate. It is possible for the young person to develop new learning pathways around the damaged part, but this will lead to slower processing.
Young people with an ABI will need different teaching styles and approaches. Further information will be found here: Advice for teachers
Young people moving from KS2 to KS3 may find it particularly hard. Pupils in secondary schools are faced with new demands; they have to get to the right lesson at the right time, with all the necessary equipment. Then they have to adjust to the different styles and expectations of up to 10 teachers.
Why does a young person with ABI keep getting into trouble?
There may be many answers to this question, but you will need to consider the following:
- young people with an ABI tend to be very literal - are they interpreting instructions literally?
- young people with an ABI tend to be very direct - do they come over as rude to staff?
- young people with an ABI tend to get tired - have they had enough, or become overloaded?
Is there information I can send out to teachers?
Below there are specific advice leaflets for teachers of different subjects.
- Advice for teachers of English/ Drama
- Advice for teachers of humanties
- Advice for teachers of Maths
- Advice for teachers of Music, Art and Technology
- Advice for teachers of Science
Having a day to think about the needs and viewpoint of a pupil with ABI is really important and valuable to those who work with pupils with an ABI. The SHIPS Project offers both a one day conference in July, particularly helpful if you have never worked with a pupil with ABI before, and smaller (10 delegates only) discussion days where you can focus on the particular need of one pupil.
Details of the 2018 conference will follow shortly.
Training Days are listed here. You will need to click on the drop down box to find the dates of courses which are taking bookings. If no date is listed please contact the office.
Homework is more demanding and despite the best efforts of school managers, all the tasks may be due at the same time. Click below for some ideas which may assist with homework
Supporting a young person with ABI
Support staff have a vital role with young people with an ABI. In particular they will be the ones who will reteach the skills of classroom and learning behaviour e.g.
- how to take part in class discussions
- what to do when you are told to discuss in pairs
- how to record homework
- how to interact with peers without overreacting
- how to remember what to do
- how to follow instructions
This is not an exhaustive list by any means. There will be a large number of other skills which support staff need to teach depending on the individual young person. Click here for a few insights