Teachers reported that around half the children with mild/ moderate injuries had problems with memory and attention, and that 95% of children with memory problems had difficulties with schoolwork. Further, even when informed teachers were rarely conversant with possible long-term effects of brain injury and often did not link performance with the injury.
The report recommends that at hospital discharge, health professionals should provide schools with information about TBI and possible long-term impairments, so that children returning to school receive appropriate support.
Dr Carol Hawley, from the University of Warwick, said: "Many children with brain injury do not receive follow-up after discharge from hospital, yet a significant proportion of them do have some lasting problems which may affect their ability to learn. The absence of tracking and follow up is causing children to get 'lost' in the system. This lack of awareness of long term effects and lack of communication between hospitals and schools is putting some pupils with head injuries at a disadvantage at school."
Few researchers have investigated the effects of brain injury impairments on learning and educational performance. Until recently it was assumed that children made good recoveries after brain injury because of the plasticity of the brain. However, the research shows that because the brain is developing, children are particularly vulnerable to traumatic brain injury (TBI).